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Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party (Iraq)

Hizb al-Ba'ath al-'Arabiyy al-Ishtirakiyy

Last modified: 2005-08-06 by joe mcmillan
Keywords: party | baath | pan-arab |
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[Ba'ath Party flag]by Marcus E. V. Schmöger and Joseph McMillan

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[Ba'ath Party flag]by Marcus E. V. Schmöger

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In a recent edition of the German news magazine Der Spiegel (No. 37, p. 109), there is a photo of Saddam Hussein with some other high-ranking Iraqi politicians, admiring a gift from the Iraqi Ba'ath party. The picture shows a figurine (of Saddam Hussein, obviously), and behind several figurines holding up a flag, obviously the Ba'ath party flag. It is a green-white-black triband with a red triangle at the hoist, so the colours are reversed compared to the Syrian Ba'ath flag. The Syrian and the Iraqi factions are fierce opponents.
Marcus E. V. Schmöger, 20 September 2002

Well, this seems to be another questionable order of colors. Green-white-black or rather black-white-green? In a recent issue of Süddeutsche Zeitung (15 October 2002, p. 8) there was a photo of a wall painting with the Iraqi flag and (presumably) the Ba'ath party flag side by side. This time the black is on top and there is an inscription in the white stripe of the party flag.
Marcus E. V. Schmöger, 20 October 2002

The colors are traditional colors of the Arab revolt against the Ottomans.
Al Kirsch, 20 October 2002

The Arabic inscription reads Umma Arabiyya waHida, dhat risalati khalida, "One Arab nation, with an eternal mission."
Dov Gutterman and Andras Ledeczi, 20 October 2002

Yesterday I saw a documentary of Iraqi history on German TV (ARD), including a scene from about the 1950s, showing Ba'ath party members rallying around a Ba'ath flag. It was not clear where this happened and when exactly. However, although this was in black and white, it was obvious that the darker stripe was on the top of the flag, so that the original variant of the Ba'ath party flag was probably the black-white-green triband with the red triangle, as still used today in Syria. I had reported on 20 September 2002, that the current Iraqi Ba'ath party uses a variant with the reverse colour order green-white-black.
Marcus E.V. Schö:ger, 22 March 2003

The report that the flag of the (former) Iraqi Ba`ath Party had the green stripe on top, as opposed to the Syrian Ba`ath, which has the black stripe on top, is incorrect. Actually, both are identical, and should have the black on top. Black on top is also the Palestinian flag. A photo from the old website of the now-defunct Iraqi Ba`ath Party newspaper al-Thawra, showing Saddam Husayn and the Ba`ath flag shows the black stripe on top. Across the white stripe it says Umma `Arabiyya waHida, dhat risalati khalida (One Arab Nation, with an Eternal Mission). Underneath the flag is the inscription Wihda, Hurriyya, Ishtirakiyya (Unity, Freedom, Socialism). These were the Ba`ath Party's two slogans, in both Iraq and Syria, as each claimed to represent the "true" Ba`ath after the two wings split in the late 1960s. There were (are) Ba`thist parties in Jordan after parties were legalized in the early 1990s, by the way.
Michael Fischbach, 12 July 2004

My information was certainly based on weak evidence, namely one photo of a representation of the Ba'ath party flag. However, from my own experiences in searching images and representations of the (Syrian) Ba'ath party flag, I know that logos on websites showing a representation of the flag are not always correct. As stated in my posting of 22 March 2003, at least historically the Ba'ath party flag of Iraq had the black stripe on top. Whether this was the case in more recent years as well, is, in my opinion, not clear from the information we have.
Marcus Schmöger, 17 July 2004