Digital Terrorism: Yemen Houthis Attack Underwater Cables, Threaten Global Economy

In recent weeks, the situation in Yemen has aggravated due to ongoing attacks by the rebel group of the Husites, supported by Iran, on sea vessels off the country. These actions, directed against commercial ships in the Red Sea, continue despite joint efforts by the United States and the UK to weaken the military capabilities of the group.

The conflict not only endangers sea shipping but also poses a threat to critical underwater telecommunication cables in the Bab-El-Mandeb Strait. On December 24, 2023, the Husites published a map on their Telegram channel, revealing the network of underwater communication cables in the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf. The accompanying message emphasized the strategic importance of Yemen.

As a result of the Husites’ attacks in the Red Sea, the major shipping company Maersk has announced the suspension of transportation through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. This move will increase transit time and delivery costs, which are likely to impact consumer prices worldwide. In response to the escalating situation, the United States has formed a new international maritime working group dedicated to countering the Husites’ attacks.

There is also growing concern about the potential damage to the underwater cables, which play a vital role in the global digital infrastructure, facilitating over 95% of international data exchange and communication, including daily financial transactions worth around $10 trillion. Any harm to these cables could cause significant economic disruptions in various countries.

Despite their technological limitations, the Husites have demonstrated the ability to adapt their sea tactics to target this crucial communication infrastructure. Yemen’s strategic position as one of the three main chokepoints for underwater cables in the world makes this threat particularly significant for major powers like China and the United States.

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.