For the second time in as many weeks, the Internet usage in Syria disappeared mysteriously around 10 a.m. local time Wednesday with little to no warning. So, is it another case of the Assad regime trying to disrupt rebel communications or are they really having technical difficulties?
There were some early reports from Akamai that the Internet had once again disappeared. “Syria Internet is offline again, following last week’s 19-hour outage,” they reported. And Google’s Transparency report seems to confirm as much:
That sharp drop at the end there, and the following flatline, that’s the internet going out for the whole country. The Renesys Corporation seems to be running point on the explanations, though. “BGP [border gateway patrol] down, inbound traceroutes failing, nameservers and gov websites down,” they said. One of their employees seems to think the Internet outage could last for a few hours because the regime is trying to black out news of the U.N.’s impending decision.
The Internet in Syria shut down last week for 19 hours but no one really knows why. It was the second time the Internet in the country had been cut since the conflict began. The Assad regime cut connectivity for the first time in November 2012.
The U.N. General Assembly will vote Wednesday on a draft resolution condemning the Assad regime and accepting the Syrian National Coalition as party to a potential transition of power. It is, in effect, an endorsement of Assad’s fall. Russia, who has long been Syria’s most powerful ally in the U.N., is against the draft but no longer has any power to do anything about it. There are no veto votes in the General Assembly.
There is some evidence supporting the theory Assad cut connections to black out the U.N. news. “[This disconnection is] entirely consistent with a technical fault at a central facility; it’s also completely consistent with a decision to use an Internet kill switch,” Renesys chief technology officer James Cowie told the Associated Press. The state-run SANA news agency said the problem was being worked on and things should be fixed in a few hours.