Friday, October 26, 2007

ICANN board denies SADR .eh domain

In a meeting last week the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) denied the competing requests from Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic for the last country-level domain, .eh. The issue had been brewing for a little while and it seems ICANN has opted to keep things that way.

But supporting the status quo doesn't mean remaining neutral, as anyone who knows why France vetoes adding a human rights component to MINURSO knows. Here's what the ICANN minutes say:
ICANN does not see a way to approve the .EH ccTLD delegation to one of the applicants without violating its long-standing policy unless the contesting parties are able to reach an agreement, either through their current negotiations, or through some alternate means.
Judging by how negotiations are going (not at all), there's not going to be an agreement soon. Organizations like ICANN need to start acting like Western Sahara is an independent country so it someday can be. Getting its own domain name wouldn't mean drastic changes for Western Sahara, but it would mean more people are aware of the Moroccan occupation. Surely that's worth a break in ICANN protocol?

Commiserate at


  1. Laroussi7:18 AM

    This is a very interesting story indeed, and it is curious how differently ICANN has treated the .eh-domain compared to how it treated the .ps-domain.

    Now Israel never made any claims on the .ps-domain (as far as I know), but Morocco didn't make any claims on the .eh-domain either - until very recently.

    ICANN has stalled the matter for a long time, and now that it has two parties making claims on the same domain, it can relax and leave the dispute to be settled by the concerned parties.

    As if an occupying power can make claims on the occupied territory's top-domain? Could the USA claim the Iraqi domain? Or Israel the Palestinian? ;)

    Why not file a complaint against ICANN to the UN? :)

  2. Good point about Palestine--I hadn't considered that. Unlike the Palestinian Authority, SADR has sovereign territory, so I don't know why Palestine would get its own domain and SADR wouldn't.

  3. Laroussi8:10 PM

    SADR, .eh domain, Palestinian authority, .ps domain + ICANN... There you have the ingredients for a good story to publish. Why not go public with some sharp words and questions to ICANN?

    It's all politics and everyone is so afraid of rocking the boat and upsetting the autistic regime in Morocco. My, my. They would have a fit and god knows what they would do then. Maybe they would flood Europe with narcotics. Wait now!?? They are already doing that.

    But maybe they would become so angry that they would crack down on their own people and lay the ground for Islamic terrorism. But, hey??? They are already doing that too!

    Maybe they would get fed up with the complaints and allow Morocco to turn into a democracy. Maybe that is the really scary thought...

  4. Laroussi6:27 AM

    The ICANN board of directors says that "staff explained that there are currently two applicants for the delegation of the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) .EH (Western Sahara). Both requests meet the technical criteria for managing a top-level domain. In cases like this, IANA has a long-standing policy of requesting that the two contesting applicants work together to find a mutual solution that will serve the needs of the local Internet community in the best possible fashion.

    Now, I would very much like to know how ICANN argued when they reached the conclusion that Morocco even was entitled to present itself as an applicant for the .eh domain.

    If for example Kosovo one day becomes an independent state, could then Serbia also make claims on the Kosovo top domain and prevent Kosovo from getting it?

    Or could Kosovo have blocked Serbia from getting the .rs domain that ICANN approved in September by also applying?

    I do hope RASD will appeal ICANN's decision.