Last week, two fiberoptic cables carrying internet trafficwere cut in a supposed accident involving a ship near Egypt.Now a third cable has been cut off the coast of Dubai. Thethird cable segment lies between the United Arab Emiratesand Oman, about 40 miles from Dubai. All three cuts arebeing blamed on ships dragging anchors due to heavy weatherin the Middle East, but the cutting of so many cable oversuch a short time has inevitably led to rumors that it wasdone intentionally, either by elements seeking to isolateone country or another from the internet, or by terroristactivity. According to internet network status reports as ofFebruary 3, Iran has lost all internet service. US militarydoctrine includes the isolation of adversaries from accessto information and information transfer prior to attack.

Internettraffic reports indicate that Iran is totally withoutinternet access. The damage has also caused disruptions tointernet and telephone traffic in Egypt, India, Iran, andmost of the Arabian peninsula. Much Indian traffic has beenre-routed over Pacific cables, but the mideast is stillexperiencing moderate to severe slowdowns. Poor weather inthe area is delaying repair to the cables, and re-routingthrough other cables will not completely solve the problem.Israel and Iraq are not affected.

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