.iq Domain ~ reassigned?
Has Iraq's ".iq" internet domain been reassigned to Iraq?
Cecile from streamtime has seen ~ "Iraq iq 1 12 82.78 KB" in streamtime's webstats (presumably before streamtime went down). What could this mean? How could such an event pass with so little fanfare? (And who hacked streamtime?) .
I looked around a bit and found no recent "reassignment" mention. As far as I can make out, the domain name ".iq" is already registered - but it is registered by a Texan controlled company named InfoCom Corporation, which operated between 1992 - 2001 and was owned by a guy called Bayan Elashi. It gets murkier. The FBI raided InfoCom on Wednesday September 5, 2001. Not sure Mr Elashi still has much to do with Infocom, Mr Elashi, his wife and four brothers were indicted on charges of "trafficking with Libya and Syria" (reading between lines - for sending IT goods to people stuck inside totalitarian regimes) on December 18, 2002. Clark Boyd reported in a bbc article last June that Mr Elashi was on trial in the US for allegedly funding Hamas. Shortly afterwards Mr Elashi and his four brothers were sentenced to 10 years each and from there the story appears to have fallen of the edge of the web, the Elashi brothers having been "dissappeared".
Brian Whitaker, The Guardian, provides as good an account as any in July 2004, at which point Mr Elashi was in jail and still owned dot iq. With various opportunists sniffing around for it. Excerpting Brian Whitaker July 5, 2004;
ICANN is considering what to do about Iraq's ".iq" country code. It could be taken away from Bayan Elashi on the grounds that he has failed to manage it properly, and assigned to someone else, but that would be controversial in view of the political background to his arrest and trial.
If Mr Elashi does lose ".iq", there are several interested parties waiting to take it on. Last year a group called the Committee for Information Technology Reconstruction in Iraq claimed they could raise $10m (£5.5m) by auctioning off ".iq" domains worldwide and using the money to develop Iraqi internet facilities. One example they gave was www.high.iq which they thought might interest Mensa, the organisation for brainy people. Others, though, think the novelty value of ".iq" is limited and unlikely to raise much money from customers outside Iraq.
According to ICANN's rules, any transfer of the country code must have broad support from the local internet community. What this means in the case of Iraq is anybody's guess: who exactly are the Iraqi "internet community" and how can they be consulted? It is quite possible they will be ignored altogether.
Last month, the new Iraqi government made its own application to control ".iq". Past experience suggests ICANN will favour that idea though, again, it would be controversial. Taking the country code from a man who has been mugged by the Bush administration in Texas and handing it to a Bush-installed regime in Baghdad might be viewed as rather fishy.
So, who's been using ".iq" lately then?
Update; Streamtime is back up. Yay.