Will the Houthis successfully sabotage underwater Internet cables this year?
57
493
1k
2025
24%
chance

So, yeah... there's been concerns that the Houthis could have motive and capability to cut, destroy or otherwise sabotage internet cables in the Red Sea.

While the Houthis do have an ally in Iran, that could give them the resources needed for such an action, there are also those who are calling this a bluff.

The question is:

Is it? Will they do it?

Furthermore, will they do it this year? Are they bluffing or is this a case where people are falling for optimism bias believing everything will be fine?

Resolves YES if:

  • The Houthis manage to sabotage a submarine communications cable within the year. This will likely be reported by multiple sources and affect Internet traffic.

Resolves NO if:

  • The next year (2025) comes around and no Houthi sabotage has been attempted and managed to succeed.

Resolves N/A if:

  • Most submarine communication cables suffer some critical failure for some other reason this year (meteor impact?, world war?, aliens?!)

Considering this is my second question on Manifold, there could be more topics I could add to the question and the resolution criteria could still be ambiguous, so please comment regarding any suggestions or clarifications.

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bought Ṁ200 NO

https://twitter.com/tagaresunil/status/1762574843399295079

I'm 90% sure this guy was the source for the original Globes article and now he thinks it was an accident.

bought Ṁ15 YES

@draaglom

Couldn't this resolve YES, even if it was an accident, if the damage was caused by the aftermath of a Houthi missile strike?

"So it is complicated. I was wrong. Turns out the Houthis did not cut the cables. All they did was hit a vagabond British ship called Rubymar with missiles and that ship "unintentionally" dragged the 3 cables and cut them. So don't blame the Houthis 😀."

@GCS I can see the argument but I don't think it is supported by a fair and neutral reading of the term "sabotage".

past tense: sabotaged; past participle: sabotaged

  1. deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something), especially for political or military advantage.

    "power lines from South Africa were sabotaged by rebel forces"

@draaglom

I'm not particularly confident in my interpretation. But to throw more ambiguity about this, if all you have is anti ship missiles and you want to damage some underwater cables, isn't "hitting a ship passing over the cables with a missile" pretty much your best strategy?

@GCS I agree that if damaging the cables was (the/a) goal of attacking the ship, that would fairly be read as "sabotaging the cables".

I believe it was not their goal because:

  • They have denied involvement

  • The ship was attacked on the 18th

  • Given the 6 day delay between attacking the ship and the cable cut occurring, it must by definition be a tenuous plan and thus an unlikely one. Surely it is very hard to predict which way the ship will drift, whether it'll drift in a way which can damage the cables, whether it will stay afloat long enough to do damage, and so on

I think if this overall theory re: the rubymar is true in order for the question to resolve yes we'd want to see some good additional evidence that shows intent to damage the cables specifically.

@draaglom Well... this is certainly an interesting development and an unexpected ambiguity.
I'll talk this over with my pillow... it's been a busy week.

Worried that even if it was them, it won’t be confirmed.

bought Ṁ555 YES
bought Ṁ5 NO from 90% to 89%
bought Ṁ10 YES from 64% to 65%
bought Ṁ5 NO

@shankypanky I think it probably did happen, but it seems <90% chance; confirmation/proof that it was Houthis specifically seems tenuous (though multiple cables going at once seems good evidence against accident)

@shankypanky https://twitter.com/osSWSso/status/1762270700998463585

No idea on authenticity in the year of our lord 2024, but this is the leader of the Houthis saying "wasn't us".

@draaglom surely you don't think this is evidence? I mean, good to hear what they're saying, but it's not reliable to trust a terrorist group's narrative.

@shankypanky It's some nonzero amount of evidence - for many/most other things they've done, they've been happy to claim responsibility.

I'm not saying take them at their word -- I'm saying the pieces don't line up enough to give me 90%.

@draaglom I'll also note that while multiple sources are reporting on it, the chain of citation seems to bottom out exclusively on this article in Globes:

https://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1001472129

Their wording was stronger before, but they've subsequently amended the title to read (google translated):

>This was one of the threats of the Houthis, last night it was probably realized for the first time

So it seems even they have lost some confidence in the Houthi part specifically.

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