Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: Third Internet undersea cable cut between Sri Lanka, Suez

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    Friday, February 01, 2008

    Third Internet undersea cable cut between Sri Lanka, Suez

    "It seems now to be way beyond the realm of coincidence that a further 4th critical international communications cable should break within seven days," one reader commented.

    "Clearly Iran, who was most affected, would gain nothing from such an action and is perhaps the target of those responsible," said another reader.

    Those theories were fuelled further on Monday when Egypt said damage to the cables in the Mediterranean Sea was not caused by ships, as previously thought.

    Egypt's Transport Ministry said footage recorded by onshore video cameras of the location of the cables shows no maritime traffic in the area when the cables were damaged.

    "The ministry's maritime transport committee reviewed footage covering the period of 12 hours before and 12 hours after the cables were cut and no ships sailed the area," a statement by the Communications Ministry said.

    "The area is also marked on maps as a no-go zone and it is therefore ruled out that the damage to the cables was caused by ships."

    It is not clear how badly Iran's internet access has been affected by the cable breaks.

    The Iranian embassy in Abu Dhabi told that "everything is fine", but internet connectivity reports on the web, citing a router in Tehran, appear to indicate that there is currently no connection to the outside world.

    Third undersea cable reportedly cut between Sri Lanka, Suez.

    DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)--A third undersea fibre optic cable running through the Suez to Sri Lanka was cut Friday, said a Flag official.
    Two other fiber optic cables owned by Flag Telecom and consortium SEA-ME-WE 4 located near Alexandria, Egypt, were damaged Wednesday leading to a slowdown in Internet and telephone services in the Middle East and South Asia.
    "We had another cut today between Dubai and Muscat three hours back. The cable was about 80G capacity, it had telephone, Internet data, everything," one Flag official, who declined to be named, told Zawya Dow Jones.
    The cable, known as Falcon, delivers services to countries in the Mediterranean and Gulf region, he added.

    There are conflicting reports of how the two Alexandria cables were cut. Oman's largest telecom, Omantel, said a tropical storm caused the damage while the United Arab Emirates' second largest telecom, said the cables were cut due to ships dragging their anchors...



    Asymmetric warfare?

    all out bot net Pearl Harbor attack

    An attack on USA forces Internet connections?


    GREAT FOLLOW UP hERE: Renesys Blog

    > In a conversation w/ US Navy this morning, it was
    > said that any ship over 300 metric tons is supposed
    > to beacon who and what it is, and that the ships of
    > interest, which are explicitly tracked at all times
    > in any ocean, are those that do not. Ipso facto,
    > it is either a small boat or who it was can be
    > ascertained.

    One imagines the NOSS satellites play a role here... (those are
    the US classified birds that fly in formation of twos or threes)...

    They locate (mostly marine) emitters very efficiently....


    Gerald, . Internet here in the Middle East is still very slow today, it’s taking 10 – 15 seconds to open a simple email message, and we are experiencing problems with phone connections. Officials I’ve spoken to say bad weather is likely to be the reason behind the cuts – not terrorism.

    Best Regards,

    Tahani Karrar

    his article:

    FOCUS: Weather Not Terror To Blame For Mideast Internet Cuts
    Zawya Dow Jones Newswires

    Monday, Feb 04, 2008

    By Tahani Karrar


    DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)--Bad weather not terrorism may be behind unexplained cuts to underwater cables that provide internet to more than 85 million users across the Middle East, according to telecommunications officials.

    Internet and telephone users in India, Pakistan, Sudan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain have been directly affected by the cuts in the underwater cables, which began last week.

    "Cables are exposed to the danger of terrorist groups but at this moment we don't think these events are a result of that," a spokesperson for Flag Telecom, owner of two of the cut cables, told Zawya Dow Jones Monday.

    Two submarine cables responsible for 75% of telecommunications between the Middle East and Europe -- FLAG Europe-Asia and SEA-ME-WE 4 -- were cut on Jan. 30, off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt.

    Ships anchoring due to bad weather, not terrorism, are the likely cause of three consecutive submarine cable cuts linking the Middle East and South Asia to Europe and the U.S., the Flag spokesperson said.

    A second Flag cable, known as FALCON, was cut between Dubai, U.A.E., and Muscat, Oman, on Feb. 1, an hour after Qatar Telecom's DOHA-HALOUL subsea cable was severed at 0500 GMT.

    Terrorists and militants have targeted infrastructure such as oil facilities in the Middle East and Persian Gulf in an effort to disrupt the region's economy. A high profile attack in 2006 narrowly failed to blow up Saudi Arabia's giant Abqaiq oil complex.

    The U.S. Embassy officials in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E., dismissed suggestions that the simultaneous cable cuts in the Persian Gulf could be linked to terrorist activity.

    The Persian Gulf has played a central role in linking east and west with telecommunications since the British established the first wire link between India and Europe in the 19th century via a a landing point near the Strait of Hormuz, known as Telegraph Island.

    A Flag repair ship sailing from Catania, Italy, is expected to reach the FLAG Europe-Asia cable by Feb.5 as Egyptian Authorities expedite permits for the repair work.

    It is expected to take up to two weeks to fix the cable.

    The port of Abu Dhabi is closed due to bad weather and another repair ship will set sail to fix FALCON as soon as the weather clears. It may take ten days to fix the FALCON cable, according to the spokesperson.

    The U.A.E.'s second-largest telecom company, known as du, said up to 80% of previous cable cuts in the region had been due to external causes such as ships dragging their anchors, fishing boats using trawling nets or general wear and tear due to cable movement along the sea bed.

    "One reason could be the bad weather in the region at that time forced ships to anchor to stabilize themselves," said Khaled Tabbara, executive director of carrier relations at du.

    Submarine cables usually last between 15 - 20 years before wear and tear is bad enough for them to warrant being changed. SEA-ME-WE 4 is a new cable which was launched in 2005.

    -By Tahani Karrar, Dow Jones Newswires,


    On NANOG are reports of yet another submarine cable in the middle east that was damaged Sunday. It's a cable between Haloul, Qatar and Das, United Arab Emirates.

    Also interesting is that Egypt claims no ship were near two of the previous cable cuts.

    Now even in the face of this many concurrent submarine cable losses, most will still have (reduced) service, so it's not a reason to panic just yet. See a.o. the renesys blog for reasons not to jump to conclusions too fast.

    Still designing for a quadruple failure isn't the most trivial nor economical solution in all cases, especially not when dealing with expensive submarine links.



    New class of WMD, ( RELATED)

    Iran's Internet OUT, GONE. not,

    5 th cable cut here: 02.04.08


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    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    committee investigated the traffic of ships in the area, 12 hours before and after the malfunction, where the cables are located to figure out the possibility of being cut by a passing vessel and found out there were no passing ships at that time," said the statement.

    7:00 PM  

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