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Archive for Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Falling stars: New Iraqi flag waves

February 6, 2008

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— A new Iraqi flag - stripped of the three green stars of Saddam Hussein's toppled Baath party - was hoisted over the Iraqi Cabinet building Tuesday 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 monarchy 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 Gamal Abdel Nasser. Later, the green stars were associated with the 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.

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