They Even Changed Its Name Nathan

They Even Changed its Name?

Nathan Brown, a Middle East expert at George Washington University, writes:

“With little fanfare, the name of Iraq seems to have been changed.

In light of all that is happening, this is hardly the most significant issue facing Iraq at the moment. But in view of the brief flap engendered by the Governing Council’s decision to adopt a new flag, I thought the name change might still be of some minor interest.

The country’s official name in 1920 was the “State of Iraq.” Following the overthrow of the monarchy in 1958, the name was changed to the “Republic of Iraq” (or, more literally, the “Iraqi Republic.”)

At some point last year, the older name–the “State of Iraq”–was restored. I do not know precisely who did this and why, but it seems to have been done by the CPA some time last year. CPA legal documents are now issued for the “State of Iraq.” UN Security Council Resolution 1511 (passed last October) uses the restored term, and the transitional Administrative Law–signed in March 2004 but named (as far as I know) for

the first time in November 2003–is formally the “Law of Administration of the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period.” (However, some internal Iraqi documents still refer to it as a republic.)

Since the current Iraqi political order could hardly be described as a republic, there is some honesty in the new title. But it seems odd that an interim administration would feel comfortable changing the name of the country.

Nathan J. Brown


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Christopher Allbritton is back in Iraq, doing independent journalism.

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