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Free Iraqi Forces

Iraq War, 2003-

Last modified: 2005-08-06 by joe mcmillan
Keywords: tricolor (diagonal) | suns (2): 7 pointed | stars (2): 7 pointed |
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Free Iraqi Forces, 2003by Jorge Candeias

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Flag of the Free Iraqi Forces

CNN showed a still picture today of Iraqi exiles volunteering to fight along the U.S.-led coalition forces. One was waving a flag, which looked liked a horizontal triband of light blue over light green over white.
Thorsten, 7 April 2003

I saw that one, but to me it looked more like a diagonal tricolor of blue-green-yellow.
Jorge Candeias, 7 April 2003

The blue-green-yellow diagonal tricolor originally spotted by Thorsten and then corrected by me and confirmed by Jaume Ollé appears connected with the Iraqi opposition, and its details are still doubtful. For instance, it seemed to me that the flag was rather squarish, not at all as long as a 2:3, so I used proportions of 3:4.
Jorge Candeias, 10 April 2003

Today the Associated Press ran a photograph of the Free Iraqi Forces in Iraq. A soldier is holding their flag. It appears to have two unique, sun-like shapes on it as well.
Sean McKinniss, 11 April 2003

I darkened a bit the shade of green, following the shade in the Yahoo photo, and used a sort of orange for the sun rays. These are similar to those used in the 1959-63 flag, but not identical.
Jorge Candeias, 11 April 2003

The two seven-pointed "sun-like shapes" look much more like following the model of the two seven-pointed stars in the 1924-1958 Iraqi flag.
Santiago Dotor, 14 April 2003

About the Free Iraqi Forces

The Free Iraqi Forces are soldiers trained by the United States to help with the conflict in Iraq. The Pentagon has issued statements about them. They are a group of Iraqi opposition volunteers who have fought and will continue to fight during this conflict.
Sean McKinniss, 11 April 2003

According to a story Itsuo Inouye of Associated Press, "A U.S.-trained Free Iraqi Forces soldier waves their flag from a U.S. Army truck as they pass through the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah Friday, April 11, 2003. Some of the roughly 150 Iraqi soldiers in a column of about 30 vehicles said they were heading to Baghdad to help U.S. troops."
Reported by Ivan Sarajcic, 11 April 2003

From the New York Times, 19 April 2003: "Mr. [Ahmed] Chalabi [head of the Iraqi National Congress--ed.] strode into the news conference, smiling broadly, and took up a position under a new green, yellow and blue flag. That same flag flew at his base in Nasiriya, where Mr. Chalabi and some 600 of his fighters were flown from northern Iraq this month."
Reported by Knut A. Berg, 19 April 2003

Based on conversations I've had with U.S. officers and diplomats in a position to know, the Free Iraqi Forces numbered exactly 77.
Joseph McMillan, 12 July 2005

Speculation about the Flag

A Portuguese TV reporter spoke in a news item on this corps about them flying "the new flag of Iraq", both as actual flags and as shoulder patches. I find highly unlikely that this is true and that this tricolor is indeed supposed to become a new flag for the country. But one never knows.... In this new flag, there are a total of 14 rays, making two "suns" of seven rays each. Perhaps there's a meaning in these numbers? Dunno. I could speculate about the two suns having to do with the two great Mesopotamian rivers, or about the colors having to do with Iraqi landscape (rivers, fertile lands and deserts), but that would be pure speculation, even if the guesses would be somewhat educated.
Jorge Candeias, 11 April 2003

Light blue for the Turkoman minority; heaven of peace green for the Arabs and green Mesopotamia; yellow for the Kurds and deserts; two suns for a new federal state of Arabs and Kurds.
Mikhail Revnivtsev, 12 April 2003

A geographical interpretation may all that the flag is--with the central green sash standing for the fertile Tigris-Euphrates Valley. Interestingly, the slant of the sash and the yellow zone nearest the hoist (as seen from obverse at least) does reflect the alignment of desert and valley on a stylized map of Iraq.
Tony Burton, 13 April 2003

The two 7-pointed things on the FIF flag are too similar to the two 7-pointed stars on the flag of the Kingdom of Iraq (1924-1958), adopted under British protectorate) to be just a coincidence, in my humble opinion.
Jorge Candeias, 14 April 2003

From the New York Times, 19 April 2003: "In Nasiriya, one of Mr. [Ahmed] Chalabi's aides explained that the blue in the flag represented Iraq's mountains, the yellow its deserts and the green its famously fertile valley. Two stylized stars on the flag represent the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. It was not the flag of a new Iraq, the aide said, merely of Mr. Chalabi's militia, the Free Iraqi Fighters. When asked to describe the flag today, Mr. Chalabi replied: 'I will not do that. I will not give significance to it.'"
Reported by Knut A. Berg, 19 April 2003

Inaccurate Report in Vexilla Nostra, 239-94

An article by Wim Schuurman states

During the war in Iraq in spring 2003 a new flag popped up. It was seen during a visit by Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the main opposition party Iraqi National Congress", to a camp of Iraqi refugees in Hungary, as well as at a combat unit of Iraqi exiles in Nasiriya, a flag was seen of three diagonal stripes blue-green-yellow. According to the Russian vexillologist Revnivtsev this could be the new national flag, because of the complete political neutrality of the symbolism: the blue sky, the green land of Two Rivers: Mesopotamia, and the yellow desert. An ethnic interpretation is also possible: blue for Turkmens, green for Arabs, and yellow for Kurds. In the middle stripe are two red sub-symbols, reminding of the Iraqi flag 1959-1961. A similar triband without suns and with colors reversed also popped up and is ascribed to the Free Armed Forces of Iraq. Blue refers to the Armenian and Chaldean Christian communities, green represents the Shiite Muslim majority, while yellow symbolizes the ethnic group of the Kurds. The flag is reported to be 1:2.
Reported by Hans van Heijningen, 9 January 2004
Located and transcribed by Jarig Bakker, 12 January 2004

Good grief! So this is the level of "information" in printed vexillogical sources these days? Such level of misinformation is totally unacceptable. There's absolutely no indication that this flag or a derivation of it was ever thought of as a candidate for replacement of the current flag of Iraq. The ethnic interpretation was another invention. And the symbols on the center had nothing to do with the sun symbols in the 1959-61 flag, designwise: they had 7 points and not 8, and the rays were far smaller. They had much more to do with the stars in the 1927-58 flags.
Jorge Candeias, 12 January 2004