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Iraq Emerges From Isolation As Telecommunications Hub 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the out-of-a-landmine-laden-cocoon dept.
New submitter jamaicaplain sends this quote from an article in the NY Times: "Iraq, cut off from decades of technological progress because of dictatorship, sanctions and wars, recently took a big step out of isolation and into the digital world when its telecommunications system was linked to a vast new undersea cable system serving the Gulf countries. The engineers who designed and installed the cable that made shore in Al-Faw, near Basra, had to deal with an unusual number of challenges. There were more than 100 oil and natural gas pipelines to cross; stretches of shallow water where the cable had to be buried; and unexploded ordnance from the Iraq war that had to be avoided. ... Because of the crisis in Syria and the tensions over Iran, the possibility of routing traffic via Iraq has suddenly become more attractive to telecommunications operators. ... 'Iraq has a very strong strategic position to become a transit point for traffic between Europe and Asia.'"
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Iraq Emerges From Isolation As Telecommunications Hub

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  • This was expected... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2012 @02:26PM (#39702285)
    Obviously, this was going to happen. The US forces ran a ton of fiber to Iraq to support their own operations. When we left, we gave it back. Iraq would be stupid not to utilize the new optical links to generate some cash.
    • by icebike (68054) *

      But how can this stuff be protected? There are car-bombings almost daily in the news from Iraq.
      All those foreign ideas arriving in Iraq are sure to piss off people who will truck bomb you merely for dressing different.

  • Since Iraq is US controlled, that means that Homeland Security is likely to put a communications monitor system on the hub site. So, so much for routing around US observation...
  • Seems like a lot of hassle to get them Internet. Why can't they use satellites in space, and transmit with laser technology, It's been available for a decade now.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sounds awesome for heavy downloading. But for anything nearing real-time, that speed-of-light thing is a real bitch.

    • by Sarten-X (1102295)
      My understanding is that fiber is still far faster and cheaper than anything space-based, and the maintenance costs are of course far lower, as well.
    • Re:Use Satellites (Score:5, Informative)

      by Fallon (33975) <Devin.Noel@Gmail . c om> on Monday April 16, 2012 @02:44PM (#39702503) Homepage Journal
      Because satellites suck. High latency, low bandwidth & high price. Maintenance costs along with laws of physics for a geosynchronous orbit and limited RF spectrum won't ever change those constraints. Their 1 advantage is the mobility within their footprint. Satellite TV still is very viable because the latency is a non-issue & the broadcast nature makes very efficient use of the RF spectrum.
  • I bet they cut the cable a month after getting their first DSL bill.

    • by hendridm (302246) on Monday April 16, 2012 @02:40PM (#39702467) Homepage

      Or as soon as they "elect" someone who thinks the Internet is a slight against Allah.

      • by Bigby (659157)

        Who thinks it is a slight? Or who says that he thinks it is a slight? The former is stupid AND ignorant; the latter is just a smart political move if your goal is to head an oligarchy through suppression. Not that suppression is going to work in the long run...

      • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Monday April 16, 2012 @03:56PM (#39703329)

        Or as soon as they "elect" someone who thinks the Internet is a slight against Allah.

        Even then they wouldn't cut the lines. They would just not allow local access to the lines. Islamist states aren't stupid; the rents they would get from these lines would be significant, but more than that it gives them strategic influence as well.

  • After we spend billions arming and installing what can only be described as the Middle East's classiest dictator ever (ah the 80s), we were forced to spend years of diplomatic man hours sanctioning you senseless (the roaring 90s), then finally something like $1 trillion literally removing your precious, regional Hitler by force....How about a little thanks for (possibly) becoming the 4th most used telecommunications go-between for European and Asian (countries that matter) communication? We've already got
    • Modded troll? That was hilarious!

      Neo-con mod squad again, I guess.

      • by doston (2372830)

        Modded troll? That was hilarious!

        Neo-con mod squad again, I guess.

        Being modded Troll cut deep. Yeah, could be a neo-con who disagrees (although I don't see how) or some PC doof with poor reading comprehension who thinks I'm being 'mean' to Iraqis. Afterall, haven't they suffered enough by all they brought on themselves!!!???? :-D

  • "and unexploded ordnance from the Iraq war that had to be avoided"

    Since this is an undersea cable I can only assume they are referring to Navel Mines... They are still bobbing about? Crazy.

    • by jbeaupre (752124) on Monday April 16, 2012 @03:14PM (#39702833)

      Navel Mines...

      Are those where they get oranges from?

    • It would be interesting to see what kind of state the sea-floor is in. It may not be just naval mines - it may be off-target artillery shells, dumped munitions from planes, leftovers from a wreckage. Really, I'm sure the crews routed around anything that looked dangerous.
    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      "and unexploded ordnance from the Iraq war that had to be avoided"

      Since this is an undersea cable I can only assume they are referring to Navel Mines... They are still bobbing about? Crazy.

      It's not all undersea cable; as the summary notes, it runs ashore near Basra and, I assume, would then continue overland. So they would probably have tried to avoid major roads and other areas that would have been likely IED sites. The larger IEDs can create rather large craters (maybe the shockwave could damage nearby underground cable as well?), and most of any remaining IEDs would be pressure or trip-wire activated and could remain unexploded for a while.

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        Most of the IEDs were in Baghdad, and al Anbar province. Basra, which didn't take much part in the insurrection since they were pretty happy to let Americans get killed while getting all of Iraq under Shia rule, was pretty much free of these IEDs.
  • before the religious conservatives in Iraq decide to start censoring their internet.

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