So what to make of this new Iraqi flag that the IGC apparently sprung on the country today -- to near universal disapproval?
The big complaint on the streets of Baghdad seems to be that a) it looks too much like the flag of Israel --- you can see the old and new Iraqi flags along with the Israeli flag down on the right hand side of this article in the Post --- and b) that the words "Allahu akbar" were removed.
Frankly, looking at the thing (and, again, you can see it here) I have to wonder whether the biggest problem isn't that it's just one of the lamer flags I've ever seen. But, I suppose, let's stick to substance.
If there weren't so much blood and history and human tragedy on the line with all this, the stuff these characters come up with would almost be funny. I mean, what were they thinking? Truth be told, it does look like the Israeli flag. I don't think there's any getting around that, especially when viewed in context.
In an ideal world, of course, maybe that wouldn't be a problem. But people's difficulty getting it through their heads that we don't live in an ideal world has already gotten us into a fair amount of trouble in the country. True, they didn't replace "Allahu akbar" with the 'Sh'ma'. So I guess we can be grateful for small favors. But we're not exactly dealing with a receptive audience here, now are we?
In any case, back to the flags ...
If you look at the flags of the various Arabic-speaking countries (scroll down on this page to see), they're strikingly uniform. Most have some mix of green, red and black. Some lack one of more of those three colors. But overall they're quite uniform.
I think there are only two members of the Arab League whose flags have any blue -- Djibouti and Somalia. And Somalia isn't even an Arabic-speaking country, at least not primarily.
In any case, judged against the flags of pretty much all the other Arab states, this one sticks out like a sore thumb -- or mabye a pale blue thumb, but same difference.
The Associated Press gets it pretty much right when it says, "The new design not only abandons the symbols of Saddam's regime. It also avoids the colors used in other Arab flags: green and black for Islam and red for Arab nationalism."
But, really, why would worry about that, since Islam and nationalism don't seem to have very big audiences over there anyway?