Saboteurs may have cut Mideast telecom cables: UN
The Telegraph says the UN believes that 'saboteurs' may have cut the undersea cables which served the Middle East and Asia. "We do not want to pre-empt the results of ongoing investigations, but we do not rule out that a deliberate act of sabotage caused the damage to the undersea cables over two weeks ago," the UN agency's head of development, Sami al-Murshed, told AFP.
The cause of damage to the other four cables remains a mystery, particularly as the cables involved lie are deep-lying undersea cables specifically placed in areas with very light shipping traffic.
Gizmodo gives us some idea of the cable repair process.
The first thing you're gonna need is an Optical Time Domain Reflectometer. Engineers on shore use it to send light pulses down the cable, which reflect back at the breakage point, providing a measurable delay that can translate to distance within "tens of meters."
Once you get your location guestimation, you posse up your team of about 50 people and pile them onto—what else?—a cable ship. This ship will need remotely operated vehicles ROVs (see James Cameron) that you drive down to the sea floor, roving around until you spot your breakage.
When the ROV finds the affected cable segment, it may snip off the nasty bits (just leaving them there to become part of somebody's new habitat) and bring up the two new ends. On board the ship, operators can splice a new segment between the cleanly trimmed ends of the cable break, and drop it back down.
Which leads one to suspect that A) there was no foul play; otherwise the the cable repair ships ROVs would either spot the tap or the cable ships would haul the tap up itself if it were installed close to the break; or B) there's a separate tap and the breaks are intentionally created to create a new normal signal profile for the tapped cable.