In the parliament today Iraq changed its flag. Gone are the three stars to represent unity, freedom and socialism, the motto of the Baath party. Gone is Saddam Hussein's handwriting where the flag reads "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest).
In parliament they chose a red, white, and black flag with the same phrase "Allahu Akbar" in Green in the Kufic script, the oldest form of Arabic calligraphy founded in Mesopotamia. They removed the stars and declared it Iraq's flag.
The change was pushed forward so the Iraqi government could avoid the embarrassment of being banned from flying its own flag in Iraq's Kurdistan during a March meeting of the pan-Arab parliament in Irbil. There the regional government has refused to fly the national flag they see as a representation of the crimes against them by Saddam Hussein and the Baath party.
In the past proposals for a flag have sparked massive controversy, one model, that resembled the Israeli flag, had people protesting in the streets in 2004.
The latest version of the Iraq flag, which is to be raised across the nation and in Iraqi embassies immediately, is temporary. Today the parliament passed two amendments to two Iraqi laws, removing the requirement that "Allahu Akbar" on the Iraq flag must be written in the handwriting of Saddam Hussein and another that allowed them to remove the three stars and change the interpretation of the colors from Arab colors to Islamic colors.
But it is another band-aid solution. The constitution requires that the parliament pass a new law to pick a flag for Iraq and a national anthem.
"Iraqis your council has chosen the new flag that will be raised over constitutional and non-constitutional establishments and Iraqi embassies and the Kurdistan Region until the certification on a permanent flag for Iraq," the speaker of the parliament, Mahmoud al Mashhadani said today.
In technical terms Iraq still has no flag and no anthem. Little has been decided that lasts in Iraq. The heads of political blocs put the problem off for another year. In a year maybe the problem will again be solved at a later date.