2Slick posts a message from a buddy of his that suggests getting rid of the name “Iraq”:
Iraq’ has a history basically from WWI, and the British mandate following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire – the last vestige of the Muslim Caliphate. The problem is (besides a name imposed by the British Empire) that the name does nothing to unify or appeal to the people who live their now. There is no overwhelming sense of Iraqi nationalism- no ethnic, religious, political or cultural unifying theme in Iraq.
I would suggest that the new government look to the rich history of the region – the birthplace of civilization, and appeal to the historical significance of the area within Iraq’s borders. By going back before the birth of Islam, you bypass the Shia-Sunni strife, and going back far enough you can claim the first modern culture in the world. Call the new nation Sumer or Babylon appeals to the pride, nationalism, and helps redefine an identity.
I think the idea has at least a little merit. Many of the problems in Iraq (and the greater Middle East) stem from the partitioning of the region following World War I without much regard to the cultures or history of the area. Obviously that’s a lot of history to try and undo (to an extent) but some moves in that direction, as approved by Iraqis, might go a long way. However, the battle over a new name between the different cultures might cause more trouble than it would solve.