Fallujah, once hotbed of Sunni rebellion, rejects new Iraqi flag

February 20th, 2008 - 10:48 pm ICT by admin  

Baghdad, Feb 20 (DPA) The new Iraqi flag - purged of references to former president Saddam Hussein - has been rejected by the local council of the western Iraqi town of Fallujah, once the centre of insurgency in the so-called Sunni triangle, a city councillor said Wednesday. Fallujah was the centre of command for Sunni Arab insurgents and loyalists of Saddam’s defunct Baath Party until a massive offensive by over 10,000 US and Iraqi troops flushed out rebellion in the city and the then restive Anbar province.

The new flag will not be hoisted on government offices in Fallujah, city councillor Naji al-Ilwani, told the Voices of Iraq VOI news agency.

“All city councillors agree on not flying the new flag in line with the opinion of the province, its council and people,” al-Ilwani said.

Iraq’s parliament approved early in February the new flag, which retained the three colours of the old one - red, white and black - but the stars that represented the ideology of the Baath Party have been removed.

A line of Arabic script reading “Allahu Akbar (God is Great),” supposedly in Saddam Hussein’s handwriting, has been changed into traditional Arabic calligraphy.

“The Iraqi cause is beyond what the Iraqi government does. It (the government) should pay attention to serving Iraqi citizens and their needs,” the councillor said.

Iraq is undergoing the hardest ordeal in its history, he added.

The new flag, though temporary, has deepened existing disagreements among Iraq’s political, sectarian and ethnic groups.

Iraqi Kurds opposed the old flag as it was a reminder of the legacy of the old regime, which carried out a genocide campaign against Kurds in the 1980s.

However, the Kurdish autonomous region finally approved and hoisted the new reworked flag, hoping that it would be replaced by a permanent one in the future.

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