Global Policy Forum

Iraq Unveils New 'Inclusive' Flag

April 26, 2004

Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council has approved a new national flag for the embattled country, officials said.

The design consists of a pale blue crescent on a white background, with a yellow strip between two blue lines at the bottom. IGC spokesman Hameed al-Kafaei said the flag heralded "a new era" as Iraq could not continue using its flag from the Saddam Hussein era. However, one Council member said Iraq had more pressing issues to deal with.

Controversial Decision

The new design's crescent represents Islam, while the blue lines are meant to be the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and the yellow strip stands for the Kurdish minority.

Iraq's al-Sabah newspaper, which published the design in its print edition, said that the designer's name was Rifat al-Chaderchi and that his design had been chosen out of more than 30 proposals. Baghdad residents who saw the proposed design seemed surprised, but some were positive. "It is the real model as it represents all spectrum of the Iraqi society," one local told Associated Press.

The flag is to be officially unveiled later this week and will be flying over government buildings in the next few days, Mr Kafaei said. Iraq's old Baathist-style flag - which predated Saddam Hussein - had red and black bands across the top and bottom, with a white band between them with three green stars.

Just before the 1991 Gulf War Saddam Hussein added the Arabic words "God is great" to the flag. But not everyone is happy with the decision, with one Council member saying that Iraq's leaders should wait for an elected government before changing the flag.

"In my opinion, it should be not be passed until we have a parliament," Mahmoud Othman said.

"I think there are issues more important to concentrate on now than the changing of the flag."

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