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Iraqi Insignia

The Iraqi army used a wide variety of uniforms, either indigenously produced or purchased before the 1990-91 Gulf War from countries including Pakistan, France, and Great Britain. Regular army troops were mostly issued olive green or light brown utilities, as well as several variants of olive green/light brown field jackets that offer only limited protection from the weather. Another commonly issued item to regular troops was the British-style olive green/light brown "woolly-pully" sweaters. A wide variety of field caps and winter pile caps are used.

Camouflage uniforms were abundant among Republican Guard troops, since many areas of Iraq have foliage. The Republican Guards used various patterns, from French four-color desert, to tropical, to European disruptive pattern material (DPM) - not so much for their camouflage effectiveness but for their quality. The Republican Guards also used several indigenously produced, predominantly green, woodlands camouflage patterns. Two dozen different types of camouflage uniforms have been identified, and they are not issued on a unit basis, as is often reported. Some units are equipped entirely in a specific pattern, but this is due to the availability of the uniforms at the time. It is also very common, even in Republican Guards units, to mix shirts, jackets, and trou-sers of different camouflage patterns, or olive green/light brown garments with camouflage.

Although Sadam Hussein's regime had devoted considerable attention to diverse forms of political symbolism, and invested major military units with names evocative of past glory, the Iraqi military was singularly and peculiarly deficient with respect to distinctive unit insignia.

Commissioned officers' rank insignia were identical for the army and for the air force except that shoulder boards were olive drab for the army and were blue for the air force. Naval officer rank insignia consisted of gold stripes worn on the lower sleeve. Army and air force enlisted personnel wore stripes on the sleeve to designate rank, while the top noncommissioned officer rank, sergeant major and chief master sergeant, respectively, consisted of a gold bar on top of the shoulders.

In the late 1980s, Iraqi uniforms consisted of service and field attire for both summer and winter and a dress uniform and mess jacket for officers. The winter service dress uniform, of olive drab wool, consisted of a single-breasted coat having patch pockets with flaps, a khaki shirt and tie, and trousers that were usually cuffless. The summer uniform was similar but was made of light tan material. The winter field uniform consisted of an olive drab shirt, wool trousers, and a waist-length jacket. The summer field uniform was identical in style but was made of lighter material. Both field uniforms included a web belt, a beret or helmet, and high-top shoes. In practice, the diversity of clothing actually worn by Iraqi soldiers made a mockery of the term "uniform" -- hundreds of variations were encountered among the troops captured at the end of Operation Desert Storm.

The Iraqi National Congress opposition group has displayed this insignia in a context suggesting that it generically covers both the regular Army and the Republican Guard. This usage is otherwise un-attested, although this insignia is used on the aircraft of the Iraqi Air Force. The "Iraqi National Symbol" is a rune-like device of two conjoined diamonds, adopted after the 1958 Revolution as a national emblem. This symbol is often encountered within a triangle, point upward, and often with an additional loop at the end of the lower arm.

The Iraqi National Congress opposition group has displayed this insignia in a context suggesting that it generically covers the regular Army. This insignia and this usage is otherwise un-attested.

Troops of the Republican Guard wore a triangular red soldier patch, to distinguish them from troops of the regular Army. Some variations are reported in the color of the border of this patch [a blue border may represent infantry, for instance]. There are anecdotal reports of variants of this insignia, such as the triangle vertically bisected into black and red halves, that may represent specific brigades. But no consistent scheme of either branch or unit variations is reported in the open literature.

According to an official US Army publication, as of 1990 the 2nd Republican Guard Division [Al-Medina] used this insignia as a bumper marking.

Although some sources report this as a Republican Guard insiginia, it is in fact obviously simply the national insignia.

National Insignia

National Insignia 1965

National Insignia 1991

National Flag

National Flag variant

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:48:57 ZULU