Monday, February 04, 2008

Has a War on Iran Already Started?

Bloggers and independent media outlets are increasingly asking questions about the suspicious cutting of not one but four undersea communications cables in the seas around Iran, significantly degrading the country's Internet capability days before the launch of its Oil Bourse - a commodities market for trading in oil, gas and petrochemicals in non-US dollars. The opening of the Bourse, located on the Persian Gulf Island of Kish was, according to Tehran-based Press TV, likely to significantly challenge the hegemony of the US dollar in global oil markets.

The cutting of the British-owned cables began last week in the Mediterranean, 8 kilometers north of the Egyptian city of Alexandria, with damage to two cables initially reported. Egypt's Ministry of Communications ruled out on Sunday the possibility of a ship having caused the damage, saying that "a marine transport committee investigated the traffic of ships in the area 12 hours before and after the malfunction ... and found that there were no passing ships at that time."

Further damage to undersea fiber optic cable was subsequently reported in the Suez canal on Friday and the Persian Gulf on Monday. The Internet Traffic Report which monitors the flow of web traffic around the world was today reporting a 100% packet loss to Iran's Internet infrastructure, resulting in a complete loss of Internet connectivity to the nation.

Omar Sultan, chief executive of Dubai's Internet Service Provider "DU", is quoted in Indymedia as describing the incidents, which have severely disrupted Internet usage across the Middle East as "very unusual” and that the cause of the incident "had not yet been identified."

Meanwhile, Mathaba news is claiming that Internet connections to Israel and Iraq has been unaffected by the incidents. The damaged cables are understood to be operated by UK-based Flag Telecom.

Many independent media outlets and bloggers see America as behind the disruption. German blogger hadez sees the multiple incidents as beyond coincidence and links the attacks to the start of Cyber Storm 2 in March - a massive multi-million dollar online simulated war game planned by the US military. The war game will simulate multiple terrorist attacks on US electronic infrastructure.

In an apparently separate development, China View, an English-language media outlet is quoting White House spokesman Dana Perrino as describing Iran's recent launch of a rocket into space as "unfortunate".

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