US Sanctions should not affect internet services (so long as they are provided for free), but political pressure appears to be very strong.
Personally I find it quite abhorrent, and would cite this as a reason not to use US based companies in future.
But I don't see Gitlab making an active decision that they have to do this for sanctions compliance reasons, it was just a side-effect and they didn't care enough for it to change their minds about the move.
Specifically, if I sign up to Gitlab, set my country of residence to Iran, and Gitlab lets me create private repositories, then they are not enforcing the sanctions the way Github does.
Google Safety & Security Blog: An update on state-sponsored activity (2018) ...
Detecting and terminating activity on Google properties
"Actors engaged in this type of influence operation violate our policies, and we swiftly remove such content from our services and terminate these actors’ accounts. Additionally, we use a number of robust methods, including IP blocking, to prevent individuals or entities in Iran from opening advertising accounts."
 "An Open Letter to Google and Apple: Stop Hindering Iranian Entrepreneurs"
 "Iran's Rulers Speak Of More Cyberspace Restrictions As Conditions Worsen" https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-s-rulers-speak-of-more-cybe...
"A selection of GitHub services such as access to public repositories will remain available to everyone, the company said in a statement on its website. “This includes limited access to GitHub public repository services (such as access to GitHub Pages and public repositories used for open source projects), for personal communications only, and not for commercial purposes.”
And allow all to see their contents, likes business and trade secrets. Top tier.
One must wonder just how many companies with juicy trade secrets situated in a nation with adversarial relations to the US are hosting that juicy data in the US, with a US corporation.
Given that the public, open-source situation is not changed this is starting to sound like a tempest in a teacup.
In which case they are actually providing -more- than gitlab does.
The fact that the "free software" community is not putting their foot down for this is disgusting. Especially when there's so much back-patting when it comes to "the value of the community". Where's the community for crimean or iranian developers?
There are quite some free software projects that use their own code hosting (e.g. https://salsa.debian.org). But if you don't have time for that and use github for your OSS project you are now disgusting because of the iranian sanctions?
How about gender equality? CO2 neutral servers? Why are the ones that put effort into building and improving things blamed for not being at least perfect?
So let’s not pretend sanctions are somehow nonviolent.
Sanctions are a heck of a lot less violent than bombs, or some tit for tat response (which would probably eventually escalate to bombs). They're basically one step up from taxes/tariffs.
The perfect is the enemy of the good.
Everything is good and bad.
This is king of going off on a tangent though.
It's github. I would personally be inconvenienced, but not terribly so. I cannot imagine their life is going to crash in some meaningful way for not having access to github.
Are you naive enough to think the sanction is explicitly targeted exactly at github, and not any number of services, or part of a wider economic attack?
That is absolutely, 100%, unequivocally, the most fair interpretation of my comment that you could have made.
I should thank you for this, really. I cannot imagine someone on the internet assuming that maybe my opinion is based upon more than ignorance and naivete.
These sanctions are entirely non-violent. The actual word you’re looking for is harmful. They’re designed to be harmful, economically. Responding to regimes like this with economic pressure is most certainly preferable to actual violent conflict. Which would be guaranteed to kill thousands of innocent civilians.
Given recent history, if you think electing to use non-violent methods to sanction these governments is disgusting, then I really don’t think there’s anything I could say to you.
If the regime in Iran falls. It won’t be because of US sanctions. It will be because that country has been operated by a brutal dictator for decades, and the Iranian people grew tired of being the enemy of their own government.
For some people in the USA it is difficult to see it. Given their (expected) skew towards their country. But people outside that country can see it with a more objective perspective.
Similar thing is happening with the concentration camps in the south.
NK has their own culture too where it's just wrong to critise their rules (or their parents). we need to stop looking at the world from a globalised western lens.
It really would be sad if you controlled the media, religious doctrines as interpreted by the gov't (which you can't criticize), had censors, and couldn't pull that off.
If so (that Iran falls not because of US sanctions), surely it follows that there is no point to the sanctions?
They would only serve to embitter the targeted population.
Not at all. Either the sanctions pressure Iran into changing their policies, or the sanctions restrict their ability or enact those policies.
Of course the US is pressuring Iran to act according to the Interests of the US. But if you want to criticize that, you’d have to look at what they are in this situation.
* Protecting allies in the region (which Iran openly and repeatedly vows to wipe of the map)
* Preventing nuclear proliferation
* Doing so while avoiding war
You have to try quite hard to apply the USA-is-just-a-bully trope to this situation.
One could avoid a lot of collateral damage by targeting sanctions at specific powerful individuals. Think of the way some Russian oligarchs from Putin's inner circle got restricted by western sanctions.
Most of the world does this just fine. There's a few bad actors out there screwing their countries and their people.
When one country vows to wipe another country off the map, it’s reasonable for other countries to take some action against that. When a dictator spends the better part of a decade bombing its civilians, it’s reasonable for other countries to take some action against that.
Your options really are to retaliate with force, or sanctions. Economic sanctions are far less harmful, and far more productive. I’d bet that all those Syrians you see on the news digging their dead family members out of the rubble of their bombed houses would be more than willing to trade that life for one with economic sanctions.
I’m really struggling to believe that an anti-war stance is now considered controversial on HN.
I Don't know about HN, but I don't think an anti-war stance is controversial. Having said that, I believe, presenting economic sanctions as a humane alternative to war is deeply misleading. Of course you are entitled to your opinion.
Whether the sanctions are warranted is much more open to debate. But in Syria you have a regime that created the greatest humanitarian crisis of a generation, and in Iran you have a regime that repeatedly vows to wipe another country off the map, and an enormous proliferation risk. So I know what side of that debate I’d fall on, and I know what my preferences are when it comes to starting new wars.
If it were a difference of culture or opinion that's fine. But you're allowing rogue authoritarian states to use our technology while taking an adversarial stance to our primary purpose; the free transfer of knowledge and information. We don't need to accommodate that. They need to accommodate the freedom their people are entitled to.
Think about it. Which developers in North Korea or Iran are using Github? Answer: The ones the government lets use Github.
Honestly it boggles my mind how easily you slipped into that mentality in response to the comment you replied to - a comment describing people caught in the crossfire, affected by the choices of nations at war, individual liberties crushed by sanctions and foreign policy.
But the issue isn't with one dev who gets caught in the crossfire. You want to stop fighting a blazing inferno to mount a rescue operation because there's one kitten in the burning apartment building.
Individual liberties cannot be realized without sanctions and foreign policy. Do you think if Github were located in Tehran that Americans would be able to post a commit right now?
And github & Co will then invest money to not blanket-ban, but make exceptions for this individual? I have some doubts.
Do you believe that Iran's cyber warriors or their critical infrastructure people host their code on github? Because if not, you're not "fighting" the government, you're fighting individual developers.
> Do you think if Github were located in Tehran that Americans would be able to post a commit right now?
I find that a very problematic worldview, as it gives you permission to do anything. There are no limits, because "what if the table were turned? I'm doing it to them, so clearly they'd do it to me, right? So you see, I must do it to them first".
I don't see why not. It's probably a simple boolean value in their database somewhere. If they can blanket ban, they can probably be selective for a minimal cost.
> Do you believe that Iran's cyber warriors or their critical infrastructure people host their code on github?
It wouldn't surprise me one bit if they did. People put weird stuff on GH for all kinds of weird reasons. Every week we hear about an unsecured AWS bucket from some huge mega-corp or state actor who should know better. But they are all run by humans who are free to make mistakes and break rules.
> I find that a very problematic worldview, as it gives you permission to do anything.
Being the most powerful and influential player in technology gives us permission to do anything. Having (one of) the largest tech markets and the (nearly) unlimited resources to spend makes us able to do whatever we want. And if we want to keep it that way we will ensure that we don't let unfriendly nations take advantage of our technology. We developed encryption to protect our banking sector. Just because we're nice enough to open-source it doesn't give Tehran officials the freedom to use it to suppress their entire nation. If authoritarianism worked so well they would be on top of the world with all their proprietary technology and censored information. But they're not. So either you're going to play nice with our toys in the sandbox or we're taking our ball and going home.
> Being the most powerful and influential player in technology gives us permission to do anything.
Read this again, slowly. You're advocating for the law of the jungle where the actor with the biggest club has the right (and, I presume, duty?) to do whatever they please to whomever they please whenever they please.
What kind of jingo non-sense is that?
We now have over a century of data on how effective US foreign policy is at promoting democracy around the world and if you read the history even badly, you can't help but notice that it's much better at killing people in monstrous numbers than at promoting individual liberty.
It's designed to promote democracy in the free world that the people who control the world live in.
[Citation needed]. It is not as if sanctions have a stellar record when it comes to promoting individual liberties. Rather the opposite - they entrench the powers that be and give them an opponent that are not themselves that they can blame the hardship of the people on.
org-name: Packet Host Inc
address: 30 Vesey Street, Suite 900, New York, NY 10007 US
There’s no need to over complicate things.
The only problem regarding gitlab is resource consumption.
I mean, something like selling a product, maybe based on open source tech in the US and cooperating with devs in sanctioned countries via a workaround provider..
Actually there is a very good wikipedia page "United States sanctions against Iran" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_sanctions_agains... about this, if you want more info.
I trust Oracles lawyers to know the law better than a wikipedia page.
Nationality of individuals is primarily relevant for deemed-export under ITAR/EAR; not the OFAC sanctions on Iran.
Quoted from GitHub CEO Nat Friedman on Twitter:
> The restrictions are based on place of residence and location, not on nationality or heritage. If someone was flagged in error, they can fill out a form to get the restrictions lifted on their account within hours.
Wording like this appears on the treasury documents, Google cloud and Oracles official documentation on sanctions.
I'll just link the Oracle one because ironically the one that google uses is really difficult to find:
They can host the git repository anywhere. Self-host an issue tracking system or find a non-US company that does that (and is not required to follow US sanctions due to trade agreements, that'll be hard).
It's an annoyance, for sure.
> (and is not required to follow US sanctions due to trade agreements, that'll be hard).
I really don't know much about sanctions against Syria and Crimea, but Iranian developers could use every country that hasn't withdrawn from the Iran deal: EU, UK (separate signature, regardless of Brexit), Russia, China.
Re: countries that have withdrawn from the Iran deal. Even those who haven't (AFAIK, Brazil) are still in grey waters because local companies with business in the US are afraid to do business with Iranian companies. For example, two ships weren't allowed to be refilled in Brazil for 50 days while a legal battle at the supreme court was ongoing to decide if the Brazilian oil company could even refill them, because it was afraid to be sanctioned by the US govt (while doing business in the US or with US companies in the future).
It's not like the sanctions were actually dropped even though they were supposed to. That was the whole point of the critiques of the JCPOA.
Or peer to peer cash/crypto swap might be required.
Or businesses themselves sell some of their services with crypto.
Then I’d highly recommend that you try doing that. I consulted for a company once that tried this, and it was an absolute nightmare. Every single piece of technology they used was worse than second rate. Making comments on HN is really easy, backing them up with action, in this case, is not.
They're called keyboard warriors for a reason.
It is painful for me to hear how trade restrictions have hurt people. We have gone to great lengths to do no more than what is required by the law, but of course people are still affected. GitHub is subject to US trade law, just like any company that does business in the US.
To comply with US sanctions, we unfortunately had to implement new restrictions on private repos and paid accounts in Iran, Syria, and Crimea.
Public repos remain available to developers everywhere – open source repos are NOT affected.
The restrictions are based on place of residence and location, not on nationality or heritage. If someone was flagged in error, they can fill out a form to get the restrictions lifted on their account within hours.
Users with restricted private repos can also choose to make them public. Our understanding of the law does not give us the option to give anyone advance notice of restrictions.
We're not doing this because we want to; we're doing it because we have to. GitHub will continue to advocate vigorously with governments around the world for policies that protect software developers and the global open source community.
I'm not saying it's necessarily a good strategy, mind you.
From what I've heard Russia is doing exactly that. And the people there seem happy, atleast according to a reddit AMA by a Crimean.
It's amazing to me that anyone would put any faith in a random AMA in an occupied territory.
For an alternative random redditor, this guy had to get divorced, all his friends left, and he's leaving for Kiev:
Why, then, blocking does not apply to all Russia, but to its victims only?
If you have no better alternative, what reason is there to be upset?
The United States (and other western countries) are concerned that Crimea annexation encourages nuclear weapons proliferation.
Sanctions against Crimea discourage potential annexations and lower chances of nuclear weapons proliferation in the future.
There's a lot of whataboutism going on in this thread, but it is clear that these sanctions exist for reasons, and for Crimea, those are pretty solid reasons.
The whataboutisms about what other countries may or may not have done is immaterial. If you want to put some people who happen to live in the crimean region who cannot access and internet service in the same category as downing an airliner and ethnic cleansing, good luck.
think about it. a bunch of russians move to somewhere near grand canion, do a referendum and then proclaim it russian territory.
My home country for instance is the "United Kingdom" which is made of up of countries/territories that unified many hundreds of years ago.
There's other examples such as the formation of Italy:
However, if it's not annexation it's probably better described as "ceding"; an American example: France ceded Louisiana to the United States by the treaty of Paris, of April 30, 1803. Spain made a cession of East and West Florida by the treaty of February 22, 1819.
Cessions have been severally made of a part of their territory by New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia.
Crimea was called Crimean Khanate at that time and the backbone of its economy was the slave trade. As a major slave trade hub it has seen many hundreds of thousands of Russians and Ukrainians captured by Crimean Tatars and sold to Turkey until Catherine the Great's counter-terrorist operation finally put an end to it in 1783 :)
This dramatic history rooted in inability of the Crimean Khanate peacefully coexist with Russia can hardly be compared with a single action of a Soviet bureaucrat in Moscow in 1954.
And you are misinformed, Crimeans Tatars are not the indigenous population, they are a remnant of the Golden Horde.
Nonetheless, the deportation of Crimean Tatars by Stalin in 1944 is a crime and has been repeatedly recognized as such by the modern Russia.
"Most of the Russian population in Crimea are second/third generation settlers"
Even the biased Wikipedia article you linked to doesn't support that.
Edit: please don't edit your comments after they have a reply. Thank you.
Lots of people died as a result of the deportation. The uprooting inhibited the natural population growth over the years. Lots of Crimean Tatars now live outside of Crimea.
I wouldn't call it 'greatly affected'.
So let us look at this:
1. GitHub becomes a Maltese company.
2. GitHub allows Iranian users to use all features
3. No US company could buy a GitHub Enterprise licence, or a private org.
The export restrictions don't let them notify people that the ban is coming - once they identify the users that are under the Export Restrictions, allowing them to download (aka export) their repos is a breach. They did as much as they could to allow them to keep their accounts at all (and this is only due to export restrictions having exclusions that cover "publicly available source").
GitHub did what they had to do to avoid being censured by the US Gov, and did it better than a lot of other tech companies recently, by leaving some level of access.
If you don't like the ban, and you are in the US, contact your elected representatives, and let them know - it is the only way it changes.
Now, if a Maltese-Github were specifically designated by OFAC, then sure. But that's fairly unlikely.
Proving they haven't been caught, or may not even know about the US Dept of Commerce entity list.
And this is not realistically going to happen unless you are a large multinational, bank, or doing business in sensitive sectors.
Not actively blocking accounts identified as Iranian is not even the same as specifically trading with Iran. Like many smaller US-based web-services who also do not actively block, Github might well have gotten away with it as well, like the did the last couple of years.
A Maltese-based company not blocking Iranian users might be designated, but unless they are, and it is pretty unlikely that they would be, they are doing nothing wrong under US law.
So in this case, if Bank of America had a company subscription with this hypothetical Maltese GitHub, BoA would be in breach, and could face sanctions (and this would probably cause the Maltese GH to get on the entity list as well)
You're handicapping yourself against your competitors, and no one who does that lasts very long.
Ask any founder here: people don't generally randomly throw money without getting value; ergo these multibillion dollar services you're pretending are entirely replaceable with free tools offer some additional value .
What if someone applied your own logic to buying your product (why pay when I can get the exact same thing from free tools)? It'd be annoying and generally wrong, wouldn't it?
That is completely different from what you are saying now...
Also, "that value can be found elsewhere" is a devious little shift in the meaning of the word "value" in "value prop". Nice try but no, that isn't the same thing.
I hate the way Iran is demonized so politicians can point out an enemy.
We were flat out lied to about Iraq. Demonization of Iran is no different.
Homosexuality is punishable by death. 
Please don't act like the problems you see in the U.S are the same problems they have in Iran.
Money in politics is a serious problem. Obama was very honest about that. While basically being bankrolled by citybank, he made that fact clear multiple times and basically asked for people holding their representatives accountable. Obviously that doesn't seem so easy.
But all that doesn't really compare to the theocratic rules the Iranian regime implemented. That is on a whole other level.
Of course they call it something different, but they do tend to start wars periodically. For flimsy reasons.
Hell, Gaddafi was air-striking civilians. The African Union was against foreign intervention and today civilians probably suffer more than under the regime of Gaddafi. Hard so say what would have been the right thing to do. We still feel the repercussions of that...
It's a shame, as a lot of benefit has been derived from having globally available information exchange, but it seems the trend is for regions or nation states to want more control over Internet based resources, as they become more important to the operation of those countries.
As an alternative for Iranian developers and any other who was affected by such problem, I've setup https://gitfoo.com/
It's a hosted version of gitea.
I have enough resources and interest to maintain and keep it going.
"It is painful for me to hear how trade restrictions have hurt people. We have gone to great lengths to do no more than what is required by the law, but of course people are still affected. GitHub is subject to US trade law, just like any company that does business in the US."
"To comply with US sanctions, we unfortunately had to implement new restrictions on private repos and paid accounts in Iran, Syria, and Crimea.
Public repos remain available to developers everywhere – open source repos are NOT affected."
"The restrictions are based on place of residence and location, not on nationality or heritage. If someone was flagged in error, they can fill out a form to get the restrictions lifted on their account within hours.
More info is on our policy page: https://help.github.com/en/articles/github-and-trade-control...
GitHub is just complying with US trade law, it's not just because they're a US company, any company doing business in the US also has to comply.
"3. The Requested State may deny extradition for acts which:
(a) violate provisions of law relating exclusively to currency policy, trade
policy, or economic policy; " 
Now the vast majority of open source projects are controlled by Microsoft corporation which must obey the US goverent and this is the outcome.
Github was subject to US law before MS took it over; gitlab is not MS-owned but had to do the same (not sure about bitbucket but I imagine it's similar).
Whether the #1 place to host open-source projects should be owned by a company that makes a closed-source OS is a good debate question but it's completely orthogonal to whether they have to comply with US law.
I'm not saying I agree either with the sanctions or with Microsoft running github, but I'm saying you can't blame Microsoft for the current administration's sanctions on Iran.
Now it is like an old grumpy grandpa you wanted to get rid off some time ago suddenly caught up with you and enforced some of the shittiest laws you could imagine.
But did they really need to enforce that block? I would imagine nobody would have noticed it and if github wouldn't be owned by a giant that enforces compliance to the letter, Iranian devs wouldn't be banned.
Not the fault of MS, sure, just saying that this is one of the disadvantages about the takeover.
Why haven't the ISPs cut off these countries?
Github has acted because github is under the control of a giant corporation, Microsoft or otherwise.
So there's a line that runs precisely from Microsoft acquisition to cutting off countries from the world's largest open source repository. It's a direct outcome of the Microsoft acquisition.
Having free access to open source code is important. As a developer I'd try to self-host more and try decentralized solutions instead of relying on corporate entites to protect my interests.
Gitlab not being accessible from Iran is a by-product of that move, not a conscious decision Gitlab made.
Arguably, if I create a Gitlab Account using a VPN but put country of residence "Iran", and Gitlab lets me do that, then Gitlab does not have the same policy has Github.
Wish they could give a heads up earlier.
When things like this (github's ban) happen, I think it is too bad that we don't have a widely accepted issue tracker built into git. To be a little more clear, you'd get all of the source and all the issues when you clone or pull. Updating would work just like updating files when you push.
Microsoft has appeared to start loving open source. I'm sure there are people there that do, but Microsoft itself I wouldn't be so sure. The are certainly embracing it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend,_and_extinguis...
Similarly, although Crimea specifically is now IP-banned, the rest of the Russian Federation is not.
This is exactly what it looks like: a political sanction.
EDIT: I stand corrected.
I'm disappointed that you've chosen to give in to the political pressure. I posted about SourceHut to promote your service because I thought you were doing something better than the big guys.
I have to prioritize the health of the service for everyone above the needs of a few people.
Was there a single UN report that was able to prove with certainty it was from the government and not the opposition? The Syrian government and Russia were winning the war at the time and it didn't make any sense to cross Obama's "red line". As for sponsoring terrorism, I guess you're talking about Saudi Arabia and the US who funneled money and weapons that ended up in ISIS hands, right? Even if we put 100% of the blame on Syria government, many of US allies have done the same (sponsoring terrorism such as Saudi Arabia or Pakistan etc). The US also tuned a blind eye when SA slaughtered Yemenis, they even kept selling them weapons. Let's be real here, the US doesn't care about all these bad stuff, they only care that Syria is allied with Russia instead of them. Besides, the US used chemical weapons in Vietnam (napalm) and Afghanistan (white phosphorus) so let's not pretend they care.
> Iran: Assisting Syria; Actively developing nukes they say they will use, nuclear proliferation, biggest sponsor of terrorism, ....
Iran is Syria's ally so it makes sense that they are defending them. Why shouldn't Iran have nukes when others in the region already have them?
> Crimea: Illegal occupation by Russia. Ethnic cleansing.
Pretty sure the US has another ally that does some of those things and they seem to be best buddies.
Anyway, my point is not to say that any of these countries are not evil, it's just that the US and its allies does the same horrible things and don't seem to have a problem with it. The only reason the US is punishing these countries is because it won't bend to US hegemony. Not because of the reasons you listed. Let's be real here.
There wasn't, and this fake news has been widely debunked.
That doesn't stop the blood-thirsty types from continuing to claim it happened in their call for war, more war, more endless war ..
You can count up the death toll, and you'll find that nearly as many US citizens were killed by Iran-backed operations over the decades as were killed by Wahabbist operations (including 9/11). https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/american-victims-of-ter...
Mohammad Bin-Salman is getting the realpolitik pass because he so far is significantly more secularist than his rivals and predecessors and is relatively tolerant of the US & Israel compared to his rivals. Regardless of your feelings on AIPAC, that's a necessary step toward peace in the region. The Muslim Brotherhood and other Sunni fundamentalists despise him for that (and for how strictly and sometimes horrifically Saudi agencies are treating them). The current Prince deserves criticism, but you're lumping him in with the wrong faction.
Crimea is under illegal occupation by Russia, shouldn't that mean that the whole of Russia is sanctioned and not Crimea, which still belongs to the Ukraine?
Citation needed please because by any metric at all, the US is the world's biggest sponsor of terrorism. Where do you think the Taliban and Isis got their weapons? What about Contra? Learn your history.
Many here and elsewhere on the internet are either not from the US, or - if they are US citizens - do not personally identify with the power-elite that they feel controls the nation, or with the majority of citizens that comprise the national populace. The US being the most powerful and influential nation on Earth can be intimidating to these outsiders, which in them fuels an innate anti-US bias.
This bias means that negative things the US does are maximized while the positive things are minimized in a weighted judgement of the US's moral worthiness.
Substitute any other country as the most powerful in the world and they would suffer this bias as well. If Belgium were to become a superpower, its good actions would be outweighed by its bad actions in the minds of international observers. Whether dealing with individuals or countries, being skeptical of those more powerful than us is an innate human reflex.
That said, because this reflexive anti-US ideology is biased against the US, it can be frustrating for patriotic citizens and the USA's many global supporters.
I believe that the price of being the most powerful nation is that you just need to be extra careful in your actions, similar to how the biggest people need to take extra care to not intimidate others.
Outsiders should also take this analysis to heart when making judgements about the US. Recognizing how biases and reflexive thinking colour our perception is very important in order to avoid developing a skewed vision of reality.
Short-lived minor PR victories are insignificant compared to the long term loss of human life. Was it worth murdering 500,000 human beings for that gain?
The US has repeatedly underestimated how hard it is for functioning democracies to flourish, and that is a critical error on its part that it must learn from going forward.
The Americans I know are very nice people, despite being from a country with an arsenal of over 6,000 nuclear warheads
Get a sense of proportion.
This is not true. They might start doing that now. But it was the US that broke the nuclear agreement with Iran.
You are misinformed, there is no ethnic cleansing in Crimea.
Yet Crimea, Syria and Iran are the bad guys (btw Iran was funded by the US - yes same regime that now the US cries against).
Remember, international "law" doesn't exist. There is no legal/illegal. It's all governered by treaties and gentlemen's agreements between nation's.
Another example: international law bans torture, enforceable under ”universal jurisdiction”. That might be one reason why Bush and Cheney haven’t been to Europe since their days in office.
Not an expert neither but to my understanding, there is no real "democracy" in the international law scenario, and the US has the capacity to veto any UN resolution. If you notice, the sanctions that states like Syria, Cuba or Venezuela have faces are just a decission of the US.
No wonder so many people talks about "US imperialism"...
TLDR; It's dubious that resolution 1441 provided legal cover for the invasion of Iraq.
See this for a discussion
US has the upper hand in many political matters, and they force their allies to agree with them, even if they don't want to, (of course they benefit from it too). Why do they have the upper hand? Because of their technological advantages and resources. Since you are an ignorant, you'd probably say, of course, US is advanced and they do good and bad with it. Of course, but then read a bit more and you arrive at one of the very dark corners of history, slavery. Then, apply your logic, "how has the US illegally took so many people as slave in all over the world? Illegal under which jurisdiction? For that being consider as slavery, there would be only potential jurisdictions, no? International and/or their own. If it were International, the US would face sanctions. If it were illegal under US law, how could it persist?" (Quoting you while adjusting your logic to slavery)
Ok, now draw an example from today's world. Just look at the current Iran's deal and how US is ignoring the rest of the world. As far as I know, this is the first time that EU ever slightly has decided to -- publicly -- face US and stick to the deal. This is an exception only because Trump is _Trump_ and doesn't seem to respect anything, including EU, and EU had enough of him (and worked hard for the deal). However, if Trump was not as blunt about the whole situation and would have approached it differently, both EU and US probably dismantle the deal and escalate everything easily. Why? Because EU would have been convinced/forced, by a rather more rational US president, to get out of the deal. Again, look back at history, and you'll see that's what happened at Afghanistan and Iraq wars too.
all four of these statements are demonstrably more true of the USA than they are of Iran
>No they are not. The U.S. doesn't sell nuclear weapons, nor saber-rattle about using them, nor sponsor the use of IEDs or send people into cafes with bombs.
No, actually they are financing the people behind those actions, as long as it destabilizes regions, whose unstability can then be used by the US to their advantage.
One could argue about only loading the weapon but not pulling the trigger, but that is hairsplitting in the end.
In the case of the US, or every other great power; that game can go on indefinitely.
As with many situations occurring in nations where borders are arbitrarily drawn, the situation is more complex than you let on.
Everything is "fine" when there's a peaceful stasis between Ukraine and Russia, but with Ukraine cozy-ing up to NATO, Russia was left in a pinch: a) the have a huge Russian national population in the area now under control of a possibly hostile government, and b) they lose a huge piece of strategic geography, with the Crimea's access to the Black Sea. How should they have reacted?
Not every thing is so easily put into good guy/bad guy boxes.