Iraq also became a GAC member prior to last April [icann.org].
For much history and analysis of the .iq redelegation see Kieren McCarthy's excellent series of articles [theregister.co.uk]. There was a flurry of non-news about this just over a year ago, most reporting on the non-redelegation in similar fashion [nwsource.com]. There was little openness then either:
More than one group has applied to take over as ".iq" registry operator, said ICANN's general counsel, John Jeffrey, refusing to specify the number.
So they still haven't specified the total number of claimants (other than that it was greater than one), let alone who they were. From public statements there were at least three parties who intended to make a claim. Whether they or more did, or how IANA chose between/amongst them, remains unknown.
As apparently only one claimant was anointed, indeed represented (when he asked ICANN to redelegate the ccTLD), by Paul Bremer, who in turn (that is, later) appointed their principals, said claimant then going on to be the successful claimant, one might wonder if this is at least part of the reason for the secrecy, and perhaps the abnormally long (even by ICANN standards) delay.
I know I'd be seriously steamed if the redelegation of Canada's .ca to CIRA [www.cira.ca] had followed the US Ambassador to Canada's request to IANA/ICANN that it redelegate .ca, which in turn was followed by the US Ambassador to Canada creating CIRA, followed by the US Ambassador to Canada appointing the Board of CIRA. Ya, I know Bremer wasn't Ambassador throughout this period but that makes negligible difference to my parallel.
My steam level would decrease very little even if it was all done openly, even if CIRA was the only claimant, and even if there was demonstrable local internet communittee support. The latter would never happen here in Canada (we'd more likely kick out said Ambassador and recall our Ambassador to the US in protest). How on earth can it be claimed for Iraq, which seems near the brink of civil war? The whole process has been unseemly, inappropriate, secretive, over long, and top down. Interesting how similar ICANN/IANA on .iq seems to be to the US on Iraq. -g