Attention Conspiracy theorists.

They caught two of the ships that caused part of that Middle East Cable outage, and it turns out it was not done by the CIA, or Mossad, or Iran, or Alqaeda.

Just some careless sailors.

There were four cable cuts at the time; this story refers to the FLAG cable between Oman and the UAE.

The Khaleej Times reports the two ships were detained by the UAE Coast Guard. One, a Korean owned ship, has since paid compensation to the cable company, and the other, an Iraqi owned vessel, is being held until the owner is located and pays for the damage.

What is interesting is how the culprits were found. From the same article:

The action was taken after the telecom operator, M. Ambare Company, disclosed following the satellite images that the ship movements around the area where the undersea cable damage took place between the United Arab Emirates and Oman was due to anchoring of the ships.

Slashdot refers to a discussion board where geeks suggest how the ships were identified. They knew where the cable was cut, and apparently got satellite photos of who was in that area which helped them identify the ships.

This incident suggests several things that are rarely covered by the MSM:

One: There is an average of 50 underseas cables cut each year. 65% due to fishing trawlers hauling heavy nets behind them, and 18% due to anchors. (note: The huge internet cable outage we suffered last year was due to an earthquake off of Taiwan…we were off line for six weeks).

This makes the internet extremely vulnerable.

However, it doesn’t affect most of Iran, who can route internet traffic overland via Turkey, nor did it bother the US Army, who uses an independent satellite system.

Two: India owned the cable that was cut.

There are a lot of business connections between India and the Gulf states, including close business ties between various internet companies.

The RelianceGlobalcom webpage is here:

“Reliance FLAG” is the world’s largest private undersea cable system spanning 65,000 kms seamlessly integrated with the global telecom partners network to provide a robust Global Service Delivery Platform connecting 37 key business markets in India, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the U.S. through an overlay low-latency, global. MPLS-based IP network.

This means one needs to pay attention to global business, not just the US stock market.

It’s a flat world, as Thomas Friedman has pointed out, but you wouldn’t know it from the headlines in the US press.

Indeed, the anti trade hysteria in the US Election cycle is not good news for the budding industries here in Asia.  Yet the hysteria ignores that new jobs replace old ones (yes, even in Pennsylvania coal towns, Mr Obama) and the  high quality of US or Japanese made goods (as opposed to cheaper Chinese goods) are still sought by upscale Asians.

Three: the story shows there are places in the Middle East beside Iraq and Iran. And a lot of the untold stories of that region is the vibrant business community of the Gulf States that are proving that Islam is not incompatible with either business or the modern world.

Too bad that good news from Asia and the Middle East rarely get headlines.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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