After Qassim was overthrown by the Ba'ath Party in 1963, the new Ba'athist government adopted a modified version of the Arab Liberation Flag as the new flag of Iraq on 31 July 1963 (Law 28 of 1963). This horizontal tricolour of red, white, and black bands (first used in the Egyptian Revolution of 1952) formed the basis of the flag of the United Arab Republic (UAR). Though the UAR broke up in 1961, hopes for Arab unity persisted. As such, whereas the UAR flag had two green stars in the white band, signifying its two component members (Egypt and Syria) the new Iraqi flag had three stars, symbolising the aspiration that Iraq would join with Egypt and Syria in a new union. Sharing this goal, Syria adopted the new Iraqi flag as its own later that same year. This remained the flag of Syria until 1971, when the green stars were replaced by the Hawk of Qureish.
The Iraqi Flag Law No. 28 of 1963 was replaced by Flag Law No. 33 of 1986, during the presidency of Saddam Hussein, in which although the flag remained the same, the meaning of the three stars was changed from their original geographic meaning to representations of the three tenets of the Ba'ath party motto, Wahda, Hurriyah, Ishtirakiyah (Unity, Freedom, Socialism).