The Coming Ethio-Egyptian War
|With over 1,100 military aircrafts, Egypt has the largest and most sophisticated air force in Africa|
The Coming Ethio-Egyptian War
By Bereket Kidane,
The unilateral action by Ethiopia to dam the Nile for hydropower generation and the adverse effects it will have on Egypt has been described by experts as anywhere from “causing significant damage to Egypt” to “potentially catastrophic.”
Anytime you play smart with nature and make changes to the landscape, it always has unintended negative consequences. It happens every time. Guaranteed! At the very least, it never works out the way you imagined it. Leaving aside the merits of damming the Nile on the Ethiopian side, the net effect will be to reduce the waterflow to downstream states, namely Sudan and Egypt.
Can Egypt, which literally depends on the Nile for its life, live with the adverse effects of damming the Nile, which could literally threaten its survival?
When survival is at steak all bets are off. There are no rules when it comes to survival.
In 1979, Egypt’s former President Anwar Sadat had said, “The only matter that would take Egypt to war is water.”
Since the Fall of Hosni Mubarak’s government and the Arab Spring uprisings, Egypt has been engulfed in political turmoil and too distracted to deal with the threat from Ethiopia but once the construction of the dam is finished, Egypt will have to face the consequences of its reduced share of the Nile’s waters. Reduced water flow to Egypt will no doubt lead to water shortages and all kinds of political, social and economic instability.
The likely scenario is that Egypt will eventually have to send jets to bomb the dam rather than continue to live with chronic water shortages and social instability. According to emails obtained by Wikileaks, Mubarak had detailed plans to launch airstrikes from Sudan on any dams built by Ethiopia. For now, Egypt doesn’t have Sudan’s support since Sudan is now supporting the Renaissance Dam due to its internal vulnerabilities but the Sudanese are usually fickle allies when it comes to supporting one side or the other in a conflict and it is difficult to imagine them saying No to Arab and Muslim Egypt if Egypt needs their air bases.
Egypt’s political situation is stabilizing again with the takeover by the military and the military regime has been raising the ante lately. With the election of Abdel-Fatah el-Sisi, Mubarak’s plans might be dusted off the shelves and put to use. The military brass of el-Sisi knows full well that water shortages will lead to food shortages and riots in Egyptian cities. Egypt has no water source other than the Nile. It’s completely dependent on the Nile for all its needs. Therefore, it will do whatever it can to preclude social and economic instability stemming from water shortages, even if it means going to war. When it comes to survival there are no rules.
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