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Iraq: 2004 IGC proposal

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[2004 Iraq proposal] by Pascal Gross

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Status of the flag

The flag was first reported by Reuters on 26 April 2004 as "a pale blue crescent on a white background and has a yellow strip between two lines of blue at the bottom." As for the symbolism Reuters quotes spokesman Hamid al-Kefaae who explained that "white stands for peace and a new start for Iraq". al-Kefaae also explained that the crescent represents Islam and that the blue stripes represented the Tigris and Euphrates. Yellow stands for Iraq's Kurdish population according to Reuters.

Jan Oskar Engene, 26 April 2004

This flag has been proposed by the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). The IGC has no authority to adopt a new national flag (or pass any other law); all legislative authority rests with Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and CPA orders provide that all pre-war legislation remains in effect unless changed by CPA--not by the IGC. The IGC used the old (1991) flag at the recent presidential funeral and CPA uses the 1963 flag on its website. It is clear that the white-blue-yellow flag is not the "new Iraqi flag."

Joe McMillan, 27 May 2004

Today I managed to speak to British officials in the CPA to check the status of the new flag. The answer is that it is "a proposal" and has not yet been adopted. The Iraqi Interim Council that adopted the flag currently has no real power. It may be that the flag will be adopted when the handover takes place, but for the present the old flag continues. My colleague told me that he has yet to see the new flag anywhere (apart from in the newspapers). I have also heard that the flag's designer is a close relative (brother?) of a member of the Council.

Graham Bartram, 30 April 2004

In a report in the British newspaper, The Independent, it is noted:

When, as expected, the controversial new flag is hoisted inside the security of the Green Zone in Baghdad today, there is little prospect that the flag will be fluttering over other Iraqi cities. When security officers at the United Nations undertake the daily ritual this morning of raising the standards of the 191 member countries up the white poles arrayed outside UN headquarters in New York's First Avenue, for Iraq it will be the familiar flag of Saddam Hussein's rule that is unfurled. "So far, we haven't received anything about this from Baghdad," said Igor Novichenko, who is in charge of such matters in the UN's protocol unit. For now, he added, the old Iraqi flag of green and black, with "God is Great" in Arabic script across it, will retain its place outside UN headquarters.

When the idea of getting a new flag was first talked about last year, it stirred up strong feelings against change. But the Iraqi Governing Council, made up of former opponents of Saddam Hussein and Iraqis in exile during his rule, has a well-established reputation for being wholly out of touch with Iraqi opinion. The council approved the new flag, only asking the artist to make the crescent a deeper blue. "This is a new era," said Hamid al-Kafaei, the spokesman for the Iraqi Governing Council yesterday. "We cannot continue with Saddam's flag." The new flag is the work of an Iraqi artist resident in London called Rifat Chadirji whose design was the best of those considered. He is also the brother of Nassir al-Chaderchi, the chairman of the IGC committee charged with choosing a new flag for Iraq. "I had no idea about a competition to design the flag. My brother just called me and asked me to design a flag on behalf of the IGC. Nobody told me about a competition," Mr Chadirji told The Independent yesterday.

located by Jarig Bakker, 28 April 2004