Iraq's flag redesign erases one of the last public symbols of the Hussein regime
Some see the move by parliament as an encouraging sign of unity and compromise.
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After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, some sought to change the flag as part of an effort to remove all public symbols of Hussein's legacy. Much of the opposition to the Iraqi flag, reports The New York Times, came from Iraq's northern region, largely populated by ethnic Kurds, thousands of whom were killed in chemical attacks in the 1980s.Skip to next paragraph
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Kurdish politicians, many of whom survived the genocidal gas bombings by Hussein forces in the Anfal, or spoils of war, campaign of the 1980s, were among the fiercest critics of the old flag. In 2006, Massoud Barzani, president of the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, refused to fly the flag from government offices, prompting fear of Kurdish separatism.
"[T]he present flag is not the flag of Iraq, but of the Baath Party and chemical strikes, drainage of the marshes, putting down uprisings and mass graves."
On Tuesday ... Kurdish lawmakers pushed for a compromise, dropping their insistence on yellow lettering for the Arabic inscription, for a design without Baathist references.
Zuhair Humadi, a senior adviser to the Shiite-led Iraqi government, said the Kurds sought the deal before an international conference of members of Arab Parliaments in weeks.
"They won't come if only the Kurdish flag is flying," Mr. Humadi said of the Arab leaders. "And Barzani wanted that meeting to be in Kurdistan, and he will not allow Saddam Hussein's flag to be flown. So they agreed to this."
Lawmakers loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who hold 30 seats in parliament,
for that reason, saying they would prefer to keep the existing flag until a permanent one was chosen.