The Washington Post reports that “the new [Iraqi] national flag, presented Monday after an artistic competition sponsored by the Iraqi Governing Council, appears to have met with widespread public disapproval here – in part because of its design and in part because of the increasing unpopularity of the U.S.-appointed council.” I think one Iraqi shopowner’s response to the flag design summarizes many people’s objections to the new flag: “The flags of other Arab countries are red and green and black. Why did they put in these colors that are the same as Israel? Why was the public opinion not consulted?” More than likely, the similarity in colors to those of Israel’s flag was unintentional, but it still should have been an obvious concern. I can understand wanting to come up with a new design symbolic of the rebirth of Iraq, but I think that departing from the traditional red, green, and black color scheme of other Arab nations might be a mistake. Finally, as Chris Allbritton points out, the flag is just plain ugly, although he also makes several other good points about the design.
It sounds as if this flag might not be a permanent fixture, though, as Hamid Kifaie, the chief spokesman for the Governing Council, says that “We are not imposing this flag on the people; it was chosen by the legitimate representatives of Iraq. When a new national assembly is elected, it can decide whether to keep it or change it.”