No IQ For Iraq

While the Iraqi people are scheduled to regain sovereignty over their country in a few short days, it appears that "the transfer of power" will not extend into Cyberspace just yet.

The Iraqi Top Level Domain (TLD) of ".iq'' has befallen an unforeseen fate as a U.S. criminal indictment has been filed against the TLD's administering company, a move which could keep the country's TLD from becoming available indefinitely.

This situation won't necessarily keep Iraq off the Internet, however, as Iraqi individuals, organizations, or governmental entities will be able to use the standard ".com,'' ".org'' and ".net'' TLDs.

Iraqi-born Hisham Ashkouri, an architect designing projects for Baghdad says "To me, having 'iq' is probably one of the most important steps toward giving Iraq its identity and independence,'' adding "The information technology part today is extremely important.''

After Saddam Hussein blocked Internet access in 1997, ICANN assigned the ".iq" TLD to Texas-based InfoCom, a provider of IT services to Middle Eastern countries who is now under indictment for allegedly exporting computer equipment to Syria and Libya, and then transferring some of the proceeds to Hamas, an Islamic extremist group.

John Jeffrey, ICANN's general counsel, claims that several groups have applied to become the registry operator for ".iq'' although no decision on the TLD's fate has yet been made.

Currently, there are approximately 240 different areas using the two-letter "place name" TLDs.