Israeli-Backed Internet Cable Aims to Link Country to Saudi Arabia and Gulf States

Israeli fund & GCCIA back TEAS internet cable, linking Israel, Saudi Arabia, & Gulf states in a post-Abraham Accords project.By Paul Cochrane, Middle East Eye
April 3, 2023

A major Israeli investment fund is backing a project “gaining traction” in Saudi Arabia to build a fibre-optic cable that would link the two countries and other Gulf states, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The proposed internet cable, known as the Trans Europe Asia System (TEAS), appears to be the first piece of infrastructure directly connecting Israel to the kingdom.

The project is also being backed by the Saudi-based Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA), a private company jointly owned by the six states of the GCC, which aims to build a cross-border power grid for the region.

The 20,000-kilometre cable will also run through four more GCC states – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman – as well as Jordan and Palestine on a route between Marseille in France and Mumbai in India.

It is being heralded as “revolutionary” in the industry because it would be the first cable to run terrestrially across the Arabian Peninsula from Ras al Khair on the Gulf to Amman, and then onto Israel. A southern segment would also run along the seabed from the Indian Ocean through the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.

Both routes would avoid Egypt, which currently dominates cable routes from Europe to the Middle East, Africa and Asia, accounting for up to 30 percent of global internet traffic.

Sources in the cable industry told MEE that the project has gained favour in Riyadh and is also being backed by the US government.

Others involved in the project are reported to include investors in the US and the UK and “former senior officers in the US Army”.

Industry insiders said the project had only become feasible in the wake of the September 2020 Abraham Accords, which normalised diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain. Israel has also declared its intention to pursue a similar agreement with Saudi Arabia.

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