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Who cuts undersea cables in the Middle East?
Posted: 05-02-2008 , 10:53 GMT

the page cannot be displayedInternet connectivity still remains slow in several Middle East countries due to the cable damage near Egypt, Iran and Dubai. An improvement is not expected soon as operators claim there are many complexities involved in fixing the problem. In addition, all voice calls, corporate data and video traffic were also affected.


The first two cables, off Alexandria in Egypt, were cut on January 23. Over the weekend a looped cable in the Gulf waters was cut in two points, off Dubai and off Iran's Bandar Abbas. The cuts have raised many conspiracy theories on their reasons. 

However, the International Cable Protection Committee, an association of 86 submarine cable operators dedicated to safeguarding undersea cables, has declined to speculate on the cause of the breaches, adding investigations were underway.


In the UAE, an estimated 1.7 million Internet users have been affected by the recent undersea cable damage, an expert said, quoting recent figures published by TeleGeography, an international research Web site. In the UAE, nearly 90 per cent of Internet traffic is routed through undersea cables and only 10 per cent is done through the satellite.


Quoting TeleGeography and describing the effect the cuts had on the Internet world, Mahesh Jaishanker, executive director, Business Development and Marketing, du, told Khaleej Times: “The submarine cable cuts in FLAG Europe-Asia cable 8.3km away from Alexandria, Egypt and SeaMeWe-4 affected at least 60 million users in India, 12 million in Pakistan, six million in Egypt and 4.7 million in Saudi Arabia.”


A total of five cables being operated by two submarine cable operators have been damaged with a fault in each. These are SeaMeWe-4 (South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-4) near Penang, Malaysia, the FLAG Europe-Asia near Alexandria, FLAG near the Dubai coast, FALCON near Bandar Abbas in Iran and SeaMeWe-4, also near Alexandria.


© 2008 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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Opinions - there are 14 Opinions for this article

» 5 cables cut?
  Marvin, United States, (2008-02-06 , 00:41) - Reply
  This is no coincidence. The United States is getting ready for war.

» It worked
  Dr. Evil, Mars, (2008-02-06 , 17:23) - Reply
  Finally, sharks with freakin' laser beams attached is paying off. Muuwahhahhahh!

» Not necessarily the US
  Eamonn, Ireland, (2008-02-06 , 19:14) - Reply
  This is just as likely to have been committed by Arab leaders. In many countries, for example Iran, the Internet is an unregulatable focal point of anti-government sentiment.

» Of course, Marvin.
  DJ, United States, (2008-02-06 , 20:33) - Reply
  Of course we are getting ready for war marvin, what else could it be? Clearly all big wars are preceded with underwater cable cutting. get a life

» Cable cuts
  Robert, Bousfield, (2008-02-07 , 07:14) - Reply
  With who?

» Editorial: Who Cut Cables?
  Judy Turner, USA, (2008-02-06 , 11:33) - Reply
  The title is totally misleading. For shame.

» Correction
  Clem, United States, (2008-02-06 , 19:20) - Reply
  Judy, the title is speculative, not misleading. It presumes that cables were cut by humans rather than by some other mechanism (like an earthquate). You would only be mislead if you accept this presumption.

» How is it misleading?
  MK, Canada, (2008-02-06 , 19:53) - Reply
  You might not have thought so, if you had some backgrounf information on the topic.

» who cut cables?
  Marvin, United States, (2008-02-06 , 21:52) - Reply
  Its not misleading at all. The fact that 5 were cut in about a week can not be a coincidence. Someone had to do this. Therefore the question is appropriate.

» Israel and US are responsible
  ragged soul, (2008-02-06 , 17:08) - Reply
  The only countries who stand to lose from the Iranian bourse are Israel (with the blosoming of Iran's economical power) and the US (because the Iranian bourse will effectively ruin the dolar's value).

» Who cut cables?
  Merle, West Indies, (2008-02-06 , 18:14) - Reply
  Is it a coincidence that the Iran non USD oil Bourse was/is scheduled to commence by February 2008

» War launch
  Al, (2008-02-06 , 20:49) - Reply
  The war is already underway, it has been for two weeks

» Chomp Chomp.
  Paul Robinson, Australia, (2008-02-07 , 04:41) - Reply
  Probably sharks.

» Agree
  rogi, Australia, (2008-02-07 , 10:34) - Reply
  Sharks may have mistaken the cables for dental floss.

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