Without a national survey of Iraqis, without a vote or imput of any kind from the Iraqi people, without even an elected government to give a fig leaf of legitimacy to the hoisting of a new national symbol upon Iraq... the U.S. hand picked "leaders" of Iraq have announced the new flag which will fly on all Iraqi government buildings in a matter of days.
The flag features a white field upon which is emblazoned a blue crescent, representing Islam. The new banner also displays two blue stripes at the bottom representing the Tigris and the Euphrates, separated by a yellow stripe in a nod to the country's Kurdish population.
Aside from the fact that the new national symbol is to be imposed upon Iraq by an occupation army and it's hand picked government (an afront that is sure to inflame Iraqi nationalism), the banner also bares an uncanny resemblance to the Israeli national flag, a fact not likely to go unnoticed by the Arab world who unanimously views the Israeli occupation of Arab land as the main problem facing the Middle East. In fact, the new flag bares such a startling resemblance to the Israeli flag, both in it's colors and design... that it's hard not to see it's imposition as a clear provocation, a gauntlet thrown down to Arab nationalism.
The replacement of Iraq's traditional colors and the imposition of a new national flag, raise some disturbing questions.
1) By what right does an occupying power change the national colors of a conquered people? Even in it's destruction and occupation of Imperial Japan, the U.S. did not change the colors and basic design of Japan's "Rising Sun" banner.
2) If the U.S. believes in the "separation of church and state", then why a flag incorporating a religious symbol? If the U.S. stands for secular democracy, then why a flag that displays the Islamic crescent? Many Arab flags bare no religious symbols.
3) Can the U.S. actually be so insensitive as to think that a flag imposed upon an Arab nation will not whip up a hysterical reaction from every quarter of the Arab world, from pro-Western moderates to anti-Western fundamentalist enemies?
4) Can U.S. policy makers actually be so reckless as to endanger the health and well being of the Jewish people by imposing this look alike Israeli flag upon Iraq? The Islamic fundamentalists Washington purports to oppose will all be saying that a "Jewish flag is flying over Baghdad!"
5) Does the U.S. actually believe that the Kurds, who have their own national flag (top bar red, middle bar white, bottom bar green - with a yellow sunburst in the center of the white field), will accept this banner? The Kurdish Peshmerga (Independence fighters, literally "those who face death"), have been martyred in the thousands carrying their own choosen flag in their hearts.
Aljazeera covers the story of Iraq's altered flag, at: http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/94E338BA-2CAF-4267-A9FC-5C425A108CE1.htm
Agence France Presse covers the story, at: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/iraq_us_flag
A consise history explaining the evolution of the Arab national colors of red, green, white, and black, can be found at the "Jordan Jubilee" website, at: http://www.jordanjubilee.com/genjord/fllags.htm
A brief history of Iraq's national colors can be found at the following website: http://www.angelfire.com/nt/Gilgamesh/flags.html
An interactive display of the flags of the Arab world can be found at: http://www.arab.net/
... the display allows you to pass your mouse over a flag to indentify which nation it represents.