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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 April, 2004, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Iraq unveils new 'inclusive' flag
Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council has approved a new national flag for the embattled country, officials said.

The design consists of a pale blue crescent on a white background, with a yellow strip between two blue lines at the bottom.

IGC spokesman Hameed al-Kafaei said the flag heralded "a new era" as Iraq could not continue using its flag from the Saddam Hussein era.

However, one Council member said Iraq had more pressing issues to deal with.

Controversial decision

The new design's crescent represents Islam, while the blue lines are meant to be the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and the yellow strip stands for the Kurdish minority.

Iraqi children waving Iraqi flags
The old flag could be replaced in days
Iraq's al-Sabah newspaper, which published the design in its print edition, said that the designer's name was Rifat al-Chaderchi and that his design had been chosen out of more than 30 proposals.

Baghdad residents who saw the proposed design seemed surprised, but some were positive.

"It is the real model as it represents all spectrum of the Iraqi society," one local told Associated Press.

The flag is to be officially unveiled later this week and will be flying over government buildings in the next few days, Mr Kafaei said.

Iraq's old Baathist-style flag - which predated Saddam Hussein - had red and black bands across the top and bottom, with a white band between them with three green stars.

Just before the 1991 Gulf War Saddam Hussein added the Arabic words "God is great" to the flag.

But not everyone is happy with the decision, with one Council member saying that Iraq's leaders should wait for an elected government before changing the flag.

"In my opinion, it should be not be passed until we have a parliament," Mahmoud Othman said.

"I think there are issues more important to concentrate on now than the changing of the flag."

Your views:

It should not be changed yet
Ali Hamoudi, Iraqi in London
The current flag is all what we know and have known all our lives, it cannot be changed just like that, I agree with those who say , it should not be changed yet, until we have a free elected government and parliament, and Iraq is Free from foreign occupation. Changing the Flag now, might see us changing it once again, once the occupation ends.
Ali Hamoudi, Iraqi in London

Clearly, this flag indicates that we are now dealing with a new Iraq. This flag represents all the coalition wants in the country, unity. Maybe people will now see the coalition is not at war with Islam but with people against unity, democracy and peace.
S. Winfield, Toronto, CA

Resemblance to the Israeli flag is striking. Two blue stripes, and a religious blue logo.
Hazem, Egypt

I find the crescent extremely ugly. But also mixing Kurds, Islam and two rivers is a stupid idea. But this flag would be more beautiful if it was divided into two parts. The above part for the Shi'as and the lower part for the Kurds.
Alan Barxawani, Hawler, Iraq

We don't need cosmetic gestures
Ahmad Saleem, Baghdad
No. We don't need cosmetic gestures. We need occupation forces to go away from the country and we need representative of people to come forward and restore law and order .
Ahmad Saleem, Baghdad

In my opinion the Iraqi flag should not be changed without asking the Iraqi people. It is undemocratic to do so. Nobody has the right to impose anything on the Iraqis until they elect their own government. We have no problem with our flag as it is. Changing it is a desperate attempt to separate us from our brothers and sisters in the Arab world. Millions of Iraqi people like me are proud of our flag - red, white and black with three green stars. It represents our pan-Arab identity. Our flag had flown for more than 40 years and it has nothing to do with the previous regime. I will be very sad if what so called the new flag will be imposed on us and I will never regard it as part of my identity.
Alia Salim, Basra Iraq

I think the so-called "governing council" has no right whatsoever to change the flag of Iraq. They are not a legitimate government and their decision would not be accepted by most Iraqis. The "governing council" should worry more about solving Iraq's problems and taking care of its people at this difficult time.
Ala' Al-Tamimi, Basra - Iraq

I am quite disgusted. That flag has been around a long time and is still a pride to the nation itself. It sounds ridiculous to change the flag, because 'they want a new fresh start' and get rid of a flag that stands for the people and not for Saddam himself. After all there are many more important issues to be dealt with and the Iraqi people are certainly not ready for another big blow in their face. The Germans didn't change their flag when WWII ended to signify a new start why should we?
Ani Iraqi/Leeds

The Iraqi flag must change if we are to advance to a new era
Ghalib Ahmed Mahmood, Baghdad-Iraq

The Iraqi flag must change if we are to advance to a new era combining all the Iraqis and their efforts to rebuild the cradle of civilization. However, an elected government is better placed to tackle the flag issue rather than an unelected governing council. I also believe the Iraqi people should have their say at least through debates and the people in charge should consider more designs over a longer period of time.
Ghalib Ahmed Mahmood, Baghdad-Iraq

I support the new flag.
Aziz Rafah, Najaf, Iraq

First of all, I think the Iraqi flag existed before Saddam (he only added a few things on it, I believe). Secondly, it is not the moment to set up a new flag when this country has got more important problems to solve at the moment. Such decisions should be made by a legal and voted government anyway, and that is not the case at the moment. What Iraq needs is not a new flag but a democracy which will put an end to this illegal occupation.
Rafa, London, England

Should not be approved until elected members decide in parliament
Riaz, Baghdad

Should not be approved by forces which the majority of the people think are occupation forces. It should be delayed till elected members decide.
Riaz, Baghdad

The original flag should remain as part of Iraq's national history forever
Tala, Baltimore, Iraq/USA

As an Iraqi American, I am quite disheartened to hear of the change of the Iraqi flag. The colours red, white, black and green connect Iraq with the flags of its Arab brethren. Even though this flag flew under Saddam's regime, a country should not shy away or be ashamed of its past. The devastation that my country faced under Saddam will only make it stronger and the original flag should remain as part of Iraq's national history forever.
Tala, Baltimore, Iraq/USA

This should be decided by the people of Iraq and not by Foreign Armed forces or their elected people. Will Americans or British accept the same for their country? Please address the more serious issues and not waste time on these
Riazullah Azmat, Baghdad

I believe its one of the most successful decisions that is made by the IGC. As a Kurd, I like the idea and it's such a nice feeling when I see the flag representing all the Iraqis equally. I also have to say that the old flag is a reminder of all the dark days of ruling Iraq by Saddam Hussein.
Saman Ahmed, London - UK

No Iraq should not change the national flag that has been there before Saddam came to power so why change it? Plus it means a lot to all the Iraqis and to all the Arabs. I think the flag should stay as it is right now.
Abdullah Amir Ali, London, UK

While I agree that there are more important issue to concentrate on and that a new flag should be voted on by an elected body, I support the change to the new flag. The old flag, like Saddam, represented a very dark and very bloody period in Iraq's recent history.
Fawaz Saraf, USA (Iraqi American)

It is not the right for the American government to change the flag of the Iraqi people as it would only be accepted by the puppets who the Americans have got "running Iraq" at the moment. Maybe the Americans should concentrate more on bringing peace and stability to Iraq before making any other decisions and leave the changing of the flag to the Iraqi people if they want to change it .
Ali Ibn Khalil, Scotland, UK

The new flag is much better then the old one, but in my opinion there should bee a much more representative symbol of Kurdish people and Kurdistan in the new flag.
Delshad, Zaxo-Kurdistan-Irag

It would be great to put the words freedom in our flag symbolizing freedom from dictatorships
Muhammed Alzer, Baghdad Iraq

I believe what America is doing is great for us. It is very sad to see that there are people in Iraq who are still brain washed to continue anti-US rebellion. The country should be renamed "New Iraq" symbolizing a new era for our country and the end of Saddam Hussein era. I thank God for this so I must say the God is great quote should not be removed. I also believe it would be great to put the words freedom in our flag symbolizing freedom from dictatorships. God Bless America for saving us please forgive us who are ignorant and resist US help.
Muhammed Alzer, Baghdad Iraq

IGC (The Puppets) are doing what they are asked to do by Mr.Bremer. The Kurds are saying "we are Kurds before we are Iraqis" so why having them in our flag?. It is not Chalabi or Rubaie that can decide the symbol of our land - they know New York and London better than Baghdad. They are not Iraqis.
Zidane Sinjarie, Mosul, Iraq

I am sincerely disappointed but not surprised by this premature action taken by the unelected governing council. The national colours of a country is something that the whole population should decide upon and not those few appointed by one country. It is the people's flag and not their flag. This matter should be decided upon by a new Iraqi parliament, a body that truly represents the Iraqi people!
Amir Moustafa, Egypt

I don't mind changing the Iraqi flag, though that doesn't really seem a priority. But the design that now has been chosen has something wrong with it when it comes to the beauty of the design - it has no artistic feeling at all.
Sameer al Hassan, Karbala, Iraq

The flag represent real Iraq of its two rivers and as an Islamic Country. We Iraqis, whether Muslims or otherwise, enjoy the romantic scenery of the crescent reflecting its lights on Tigris or Euphrates.
Yaqthan Kamil, Baghdad-Iraq

No I think its not a true democracy if the opinion of majority whom do not like the new flag is not taken into account and a decision to implement this new flag is wrongfully taken!
Maqsooda Faree, Baghdad Iraq

I am an Iraqi exile having left Iraq over 25 years ago, I was hoping of going back, but after the troubles I decided to wait. If the new flag is approved I will never go back. I would love to meet the 25p an hour designer they used to come up with such a design, or was the designer a £1000 hour, because his father is a close friend of Mr. Bush's second cousin?
Zaid El-Hamdoon, London, UK

The concept of a new flag looks wonderful, however, I think it should be voted on. As a Muslim, I like the crescent on the flag, but what about everyone in Iraq who is not Muslim? I think a better approach would be to keep the colours and not have the crescent, or if there is a crescent, add other symbols to include the other faiths in Iraq, both past and today.
Omar S, Iraq/USA

The BBC's Peter Greste
"The new Iraqi flagż has already become the focus of anger and hostility"

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