Sunday, February 24, 2008

Undersea Internet Cable disruption, A Sabotage?

Recent Internet outages have affected 85 million users in Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.undersea-cable-map-1

The trouble began on 30 January 2008 when  two cables were cut off the Egyptian Mediterranean coast,  disrupting Internet and telephone traffic in India and Several Middle Eastern Countries.  The two cut cables "accounted for as much as three-quarters of the international communications between Europe and the Middle East."  These cuts were initially attributed to dragging ship anchors caused by rough waters in the eastern Mediterranean. But later, the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said video footage of coastal waters in the region of the two cables showed there was no ship traffic for 12 hours preceding and 12 hours following the time of the cable cuts.

A few days later, another undersea cable was found cut in the Persian Gulf, 55 kilometers off Dubai. It was followed by reports of another damaged undersea cable between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Soon another report mentioned a cut undersea cable running through the Suez to Sri Lanka. The Khaleej Times reported on February 4, 2008 that as many as five undersea cables were damaged, including a cable in the Persian Gulf near Bandar Abbas, Iran; and SeaMeWe4 undersea cable near Penang, Malaysia.

There is no logical explanation for the sudden damage to nearly five undersea cables in the course of a week.

Was it sheer coincidence that Iran government’s planned to inaugurate its Iran Oil Bourse between Feb. 1 and 11 for trade in ‘non-dollar currencies’. If Iran manages to open its own Oil Bourse, there is a very good possibility that  GCC will trade there on account of geographic proximity. This will make Iran the main hub for oil deals in the Middle East. A functional Iranian Oil Bourse, selling oil tankers in non-dollar currencies, would be a terrible snub to America.

The "Iran Oil Bourse (IOB)" system is planned to work as a "Peer to Peer" network using the Internet rather than the traditional centralized method to avoid the market manipulation by intermediary traders which affects other oil trading centres. With complete elimination of Internet connectivity to Iran , this launch may have been severely disrupted.It would also put doubts on the mind of potential users on the reliability of the system.  

No comments: