March 29, 2013 - Egypt's naval forces yesterday reportedly intercepted scuba divers who were trying to cut submarine internet cables. Some of you noted that in the previously unknown letter of Sheikh Younis al-Mauretani to Osama Bin Laden that I reported about last week attacks of this kind had been floated as ideas. Of course it is way too early to say anything meaningful about the actual background of the operation foiled in Egypt, let alone about a potential connection to Al-Qaida. At this point, I believe it could very well be a coincidence.
But just in case you are interested, here is what al-Mauretani had to say on the issue in the OBL-letter:
* We will delegate people to study maritime issues and to personally prepare for the fact that the organization will one day need them for Jihadist activities. These people will be asked to specialize, since it is necessary to master the technique of trafficking and everything else in connection with the seas, as we have in mind attacks on maritime targets such as pipelines and internet cables and tankers.
* ... not to even talk about an operation like the one you have suggested and for which we would need a special apparatus with the highest capabilities... . This apparatus demands the highest degree of precision and simultaneity as well as a huge amount of information and activities. Not to mention the destruction of all cables of the internet at different places worldwide -- we have seen, after all, how a simple problem a year ago led to unrest at the stock exchanges in the Near East.
You think these passages are somewhat cryptic? I agree. But if anything, these sentences rather clearly corroborate the notion that AQ was at least thinking about targeting internet cables. Can they do it, though? Is it still a live plan? I daresay no-one knows right now. Maybe results of the Egyptian investigation will tell us more.
Have a good night,