Houthi Rebels Planning to Damage Undersea Global Communications Infrastructure

By Arie Egozi

Foreign Affairs

Tel Aviv: The Houthi rebels in Yemen, an Iranian terror proxy, are increasing the scope of their threats. After attacking ground and maritime targets with cruise missiles and armed drones, they are planning to damage the optic fibres network that is part of the international communications systems.

The Houthis in Yemen relayed a new threat this week: damage to the optic fibres that make up the undersea infrastructure for global communications.

RAdm (res.) Yuval Eylon writes in the website of the Israel Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) that this threat raises the issue of protecting the underwater communication cables that constitute the global infrastructure for communications with other countries and organisations. More than 95 percent of global communications run through the optic fibres laid on the seabed.

Protecting these infrastructures is complex and challenging, as is the ability to damage them. At the same time, since the Second World War such attacks have already been carried out by countries against the infrastructures of other countries. In addition, in the last two decades, terrorist armies and semi-state organisations have also operated in this sector and caused deliberate damage to these infrastructures.

“These vulnerabilities are potentially disastrous, they can significantly harm interstate communication capabilities, and cause significant security and economic damage. The State of Israel, for example, relies on a small number of such cables that are laid on the seabed and connect the “island state” of Israel to the world. The activity in this field in the State of Israel needs to be stepped up, and the Houthi threat in all its forms is an excellent opportunity for international cooperation in this field as well,” writes RAdm (res.) Yuval Eylon.

RAdm (res.) Yuval Eylon has 30 years of experience in a variety of operational and staff positions in the Israeli Navy. In his most recent position in the military, he was head of naval intelligence .