Using ICANN to Sanction Syria and Iran

Using ICANN to Sanction Syria and Iran

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ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers) governs and regulates all the .com and the .net of the world. These also include the Internet country code of .sy for Syria and the .ir for Iran. Using ICANN to sanction Syria and Iran should be considered on a limited basis.

Within the ICANN framework are many agreements with the US Commerce Department and the international community. Agreements to facilitate and coordinate all matters related to many aspects of the Internet components essentials for access.

According to ICANN’s website, ICANN claims it

… coordinates the Domain Name System (DNS), Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions. These services were originally performed under U.S. Government contract by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and other entities. ICANN now performs the IANA function. ICANN, for example.

This makes ICANN the nerve center of the Internet.

Using ICANN to Sanction Syria and Iran

Of late, many countries, led by China, Russia, and India, have complained that the Internet heartbeat remains in US hands. These countries would like to see the UN manage the Internet, which essentially means more restrictions on freedom of speech.

As of yet, the West has not used ICANN in an economic sanctions programs we bear witness to for rogue countries. ICANN is, by far, the most potent weapon the US has in its arsenal. Its use as such, though, can start many lethal wars.

When countries like Russia, China, and India come together to battle US supremacy in this field, it is a signal of how important it is to remove ICANN’s control from US hands. We do not see why if DARPA invented the embryonic Internet, the US should relinquish control. The very same UN that wants to control ICANN also installs Iran and Syria on human rights commissions.

Through ICANN, the US could today block access to the Internet to Syrian government offices. It can re-direct traffic coming from hackers and malicious in-country attacks to cyber cemeteries. ICANN control can suspend accounts connected with specific government services. This includes managing access to disable communications for the most insidious rogue governments.

Using ICANN to Sanction Syria and Iran

However, stepping into this area is dangerous as it sets a precedent many countries around the world would see as representative of threats to their national security.

ICANN is like a cyber-atomic bomb with the precision of a scalpel. Therefore, the US cannot lose control. However, we should work with other Western nations for the day when terrorist countries like Syria or Iran use chemical weapons or develop nuclear programs. Under these circumstances, ICANN can remove that threat by turning the lights off on that government. If any Internet domain that ends with or re-direct you to Disney’s website, the Syrian and the Iranian governments come to a screeching halt. It will, as well, affect everyone in the country, which is why it is a nuclear solution.

Instead of relinquishing control, the US Government should work with like-minded western countries to add ICANN to its arsenal the same way freezing bank accounts is part of its routine of sanctions.

Honestly, the US Government should treat ICANN like a currency. If rogue Syria or Iran cannot trade with a Dollar to buy goods in support of their trade of terror, they should not be permitted to use communications as a facilitator weapon for terror.

Using ICANN to Sanction Syria and Iran


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