New Iraqi flag to be replaced in months

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The Independent Online

Iraq's new flag is already being spoken of in the past tense after the universal outrage its unveiling provoked amongst Iraqis.

Massoud Barzani, head of the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), said this week the flag "will stand for a few months until we decide on a new flag for Iraq".

Designed by London-based Iraqi artist and architect Rifat Chaderji, 77, the flag consists of a white background with a pale blue crescent and three lines running across the bottom; two blue lines to represent the Euphrates and the Tigris, and a yellow line between them to represent the Sumerian colour for the sun.

Mr Chaderji was commissioned to design the flag by his brother, an IGC member, and yesterday told The Independent it was carefully designed to represent peace, Iraqi history and Islam, as well as be aesthetically pleasing.

However, Iraqis denounced the flag as being foisted upon them by American appointed leaders.

Mr Chaderji was indifferent to his design's negative reception and the news that it will soon be scrapped.

"It's up to them [the IGC]. I couldn't care less," he said. Defending the legitimacy of the IGC's authority in assigning Iraq a new flag, he added: "I believe the IGC represents Iraq more than any other ruler in the history of Iraq - which is not to say the IGC is perfect."

The inspiration behind the new flag was to erase the memory of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Iraq's old flag features the words "Allahu Akbar" [God is great], which were added by Saddam in a bid to attract Arab sympathies.

Mr Chaderji himself was sentenced to life imprisonment by Saddam, but was released after two years and granted permission to leave Iraq in exchange for redesigning parts of Baghdad.