Iraqi government orders internet shutdown amid violent ISIS uprising

17 Jun 2014

Internet monitoring firm Renesys has confirmed that it observed two large outages in Iraq late last week, as the government bids to stem the use of broadband by militant Sunni group ISIS for the coordination of its violent attacks. Sources on the ground in Iraq later confirmed that the government was indeed behind the outages, which heavily impacted prominent internet service providers (ISPs) IQ Networks and Earthlink.

Renesys notes that the Iraqi government attempted a similar shutdown last Autumn, following a pricing dispute between the Ministry of Communications (MoC) and a number of retail providers. On that occasion Erbil-based Newroz Telecom and Sulaymaniyah-based IQ Networks, both of which operate out of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, easily outmanoeuvred the authorities by utilising their cross-border connections to Turkey, via Zakho, Iraq. Instead of affirming the MoC’s control over Iraq’s internet space, the incident merely underlined the Kurdish authorities’ lack of patience for taking orders from Baghdad.