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 History of the Iraqi flag

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Haidar Albaghdadi
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PostSubject: History of the Iraqi flag   Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:40 pm

History Of The Iraqi Flag
By:Haidar Albaghdadi

* 1921-1959

The original flag of Iraq was adopted in 1921, when the country was formed. It was a black-white-green horizontal tricolour, with a red trapezoid (some variants have a triangle) extending from the mast side, inspired by the flag of the Arab Revolt. Two seven-point white stars on the triangle denoted the two principal peoples of the kingdom: the Arabs and the Kurds. The colours chosen for the new flag were those of the Hashemite leaders of the Arab Revolt who provided the country with its first king, and thus it is very similar to the flag of Jordan, another Hashemite Kingdom (this flag is also used by the monarchists in Iraq).

* 1958

This flag was the flag of the Arab Federation , a confederation of the Kingdoms of Iraq and Jordan throughout its short existence. Use of this flag and the federation were both ended when Iraq became a repulic towards the end of 1958.

* 1959-1963

Following Abdul Karim Qassim's 1958 revolution that deposed the monarchy,
on 14 July 1959 Iraq adopted (Law 102 of 1959) a new flag that consisted black-white-green vertical tricolour with, in the middle of the white band, a red eight-pointed star with a yellow circle at its centre.
The black and green represented pan-Arabism, the yellow sun representing the Kurdish minority, while the red star (of Ishtar) represented the Assyrian minority.
This version of the Iraqi national flag is currently allowed to be flown in the Kurdish minority region of Iraq, while the 1963-2007 versions of the Iraqi flag (with their Ba`thist and Pan-Arab associations) are not.

* 1963-1991

After the Qassim government was overthrown, a new flag was adopted on 31 July 1963 (Law 28 of 1963).
The new flag had three stripes, of red, white, and black, with three green stars in the white stripe.
The green stars were originally placed there for the proposed, but never-consummated, union of Iraq with Egypt and Syria (United Arab Republic), which both had flags with two stars in the middle at the time. Theirs would have presumably changed into three had the union with Iraq been accomplished.
By 1961, however, the Union between Syria and Egypt had already fallen apart.


* 1991-2004


On 13 January 1991, the flag was changed again. The meaning of the three stars was changed from their original geographic meaning to representations of the three tenets of the Ba'ath party motto, Wahda, Hurriyah, Ishtirakiyah (Unity, Freedom, Socialism).
Saddam Hussein decreed to place the Takbir (the words Allaahu Akbar (God is Great)) between the stars.
It is said (though unconfirmed) that the words on the flag were in Saddam's own handwriting, and many interpreted the change as an attempt to garner wartime support from previously outlawed religious Iraqi leaders, to stop the disrespect of the Iraqi flag in Kuwait, and to garner support from the Islamic world in the period immediately preceding[citation needed] the first Gulf War, as he attempted to distance his government from its previous secularism which had kept Islamic fighters from being willing to fight for his regime.


* 2008 to present

On 21 January 2008, a new flag was confirmed by the Iraqi parliament. In this current version, the three stars were removed, while the Takbir was left written in green Kufic script.

The flag is controversial, as some Iraqis refuse to accept the legitimacy of a government whilst foreign troops remain active in Iraq, and thus "many ... reject the temporary flag".
The New York Times reports that the flag design recently imposed is designed to be temporary and mentions that Iraqis have "expressed varying opinions about the new flag."
A referendum on a new permanent flag is expected by the end of 2008.
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