First Published: 2004-04-27

Governing Council unveils new Iraqi flag

Rivers, crescent design on new flag as Governing Council drops symbol of Iraq's bygone pan-Arab aspirations.


Middle East Online

BAGHDAD - Iraq will trade its 50-year-old flag, a symbol of its bygone pan-Arab aspirations, for one symbolising its two main rivers and Islam, the religion of its majority, the Governing Council said Monday.

The new flag, designed by artist Rifaat al-Shadershi, will be white with two blue stripes at the bottom representing the Tigris and the Euphrates, separated by a yellow stripe in a nod to the country's Kurdish population, said spokesman Hamid al-Kifai.

A crescent in the middle symbolises Islam, but its colour, a toss up between gold and red, is yet to be finalised, said Kifai, speaking for the US-installed interim council.

The final version of the flag will be unveiled on Wednesday.

The colours of Iraq's existing flag are inspired by the traditional banners of Arab tribes, and are the same as those of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Yemen and the Palestinian Authority.

"Black is our reality, white are our deeds, green are our fields and red are our blades," says a famous poem by Safieddin Hilli.

Iraq's flag was modified three times since it was first adopted in 1952.

Ousted president Saddam Hussein added "Allahu Akbar (god is great)" to it in 1991, which was removed by the US-led coalition after he fell from power last April.


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