Recent underseas cable attacks show the impact of their disruption
[ Page 236 ]
Ambiguity, coupled with our extreme reliance on undersea infrastructure, was on display in late January and early February 2008. Four undersea telecommunication cables were mysteriously cut within the course of two days, crippling Internet access across wide swaths of the Middle East and India.59 Two cable breaks were in the Mediterranean--one near Alexandria, Egypt, and the other in the waters off Marseille, France.60 The third break was thirty-five miles off the coast of Dubai and the fourth was along a cable linking the United Arab Emirates to Qatar.61 Most telecommunication experts and operators deemed sabotage unlikely, believing instead that ship anchors had severed the cables when heavy storms swept through the region.62 Nevertheless, the Egyptian Ministry of Communications refuted the presence of any ships near the Mediterranean cable cuts.63 Moreover, the improbable incidence of four cuts in 48 hours fueled speculation about military involvement.64 Sabotage theorists seized on reports of stifled Internet traffic through Iran,65 while traffic to Israel, Lebanon and Iraq was apparently immune from chaos.66 At the very least, this episode highlights how relatively small damage to undersea cables can instantly affect millions of people, and how a stealthy underwater attack- ambiguous and non-attributive in nature-could deal such a crippling blow.
Undersea cables are a valuable commodity in the 21st century global communication environment. The undersea consortium is owned by various international companies such as ATT, and these companies provide high-speed broadband connectivity and capacity for large geographic areas that are important entities of trade and communications around the globe. If undersea cables were cut or disrupted outside of the U.S.