Thursday, February 21, 2008

Iraq's New Flag Symbolizes Break From Past

A new Iraqi flag, stripped of the three green stars of Saddam Hussein's toppled Baath part, was hoisted over the Iraqi Cabinet building in a symbolic break with the past nearly five years after the U.S. led invasion.It marked the latest of several tweaks and revisions, and one failed American supervised redesign, of Iraq's national symbol over the decades from monarch to military rule to the rise and fall of Saddam's regime. And more fine tuning could come after the one year lifespan for the new flag. Its main modification removes the stars, which were first added in the early 1960s in homage to the pan-Arab bonds promoted by Egypt's Gammal Abdel Nasser. Later, the green stars were associated with slogans of Saddam's party: unity, freedom and socialism. The new design also officially enshrines the new script for the Arabic words "Allahu Akbar", or "God is Great" in green - which were added as part of Saddam's 1990-91 occupation of Kuwait. The original calligraphy, believed inspired by Saddam's handwriting, was replaced with the sparse Kufic script after his fall in 2003. But many houses continued to fly the old flag.

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