The new Iraqi flag most closely resembles which of the following?
United Arab Emirates
Iraq's flags, like the flags of almost every other Arab-dominated nation, have always featured variations on green, gold, black and red. Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime placed three gold stars in the centre, representing a hoped-for union with Syria and Egypt. During the 1991 Persian Gulf war, Mr. Hussein added an Arabic inscription in his own hand, reading "God is great," apparently to de-secularize his country and win support from other Islamic nations.
White and blue have never been Arab colours, and are best known as the colours of Israel. The new Iraqi flag looks strikingly like the Israeli flag, with an Islamic crescent in place of the Star of David.
The absence of green, the colour of the Prophet Mohammed and the colour of divine light in Islamic mystical symbolism, provoked controversy among Iraqis yesterday.
After its image appeared in Baghdad newspapers, and drew a decidedly mixed response, Governing Council spokesman Hameed al-Kafaei said it might be sent back to its Iraqi designer, artist Rifat al-Chaderchi, to change the crescent to a less Israeli-looking shade of blue, or to another colour.
Because many Iraqis consider the U.S.-appointed Governing Council an American puppet, and because the United States is widely condemned by Arabs for its friendship with Israel, flag experts said the new colours are particularly ill-chosen.
"It flies in the face of the traditions of that country; these are not small things. There are reams of Iraqi poetry, by the most respected poets in the country, devoted to the four Arab colours," Mr. Martucci said in an interview from his Massachusetts home. "It's probably extraordinarily clear to people that this government is not keeping with their deepest beliefs."
last updated: 04.27.2004