By Jamal Altar
During a visit to Egypt on September 7, 2021, Burundi’s FM Albert Shingiro said access to water to Egypt should come before the right to development for Ethiopia. If this idea prevails, no country, including Sudan, cannot touch the Nile without Egyptian approval. While FM Albert is selling out to Egypt, Ethiopia has no intention or plans to deny or decrease access to water to Egypt or Sudan.
Egyptian problem is not diminishing water from the Nile because of the Ethiopian dam but losing its hegemony and dominance of the region and future development. It wants to build 37 smart cities and build a half-trillion-dollar project on the edge of the Sinai with Saudi Arabia; all depend on water from the Nile. Egypt is hoodwinking both Sudan and Saudi Arabia by claiming that their future hangs in the balance if Ethiopia completes the dam. A big lie. Sudan and Saudi Arabia are a victim of Egyptian machination.
Egypt is spending over $70 billion to build smart and environmentally friendly cities to transform its economy and to reduce congestion in Cairo. General Al Sisi has been all over to attract more investors, including making six trips to China and other countries. One of the costs to this cozy relationship with China is the forced deportation of Uyghurs’ political dissidents. One of the cities completed is located 45km east of Cairo, and it will become Egypt’s New Administrative Capital. It has already played host to several glitzy events and has the highest tower in Africa. Of course, the Problem is Egypt’s desire to have absolute control and monopoly on the flow of water from the Nile and one of the reasons opposing Ethiopia’s ability to tap into the Nile or build any projects, including hydroelectric dams. Egypt-building-37-new-smart-cities (https://www.theafricareport.com/127526/egypt-major-building-boom-breaths-life-into-37-new-smart-citiy-projects/)
Egypt’s problem is not Water but future development and Hegemony.
The current Ethiopian dam, GERD, will not materially or at no level will affect Egyptian water supply except during the filling period for which Egypt has adequate reserves. The issue is future development for Egypt and its hegemony in the region. Like Ethiopia, Egypt has future development plans, and it wants to broadcast to the people of Egypt and Sudan that the dam will be an obstacle.
Egypt Hoodwinking Sudan and Saudi Arabia about the Ethiopian dam
Saudi investment in Egypt is deep: Click to read: Saudi Investment (https://www.arabnews.com/node/1259251/saudi-arabia) . In addition, in the Sinai, in cooperation with Saudi Arabia, there is over a half a trillion-dollar project called NEOM: Mega Project (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-economy-city/saudis-set-500-billion-plan-to-develop-border-region-with-jordan-egypt-idUSKBN1CT154). Similarly, UAE and Kuwait have been significant investors in Egypt, and Israel is in the wing for future projects. Saudi investment in Egypt stands over $27 billion and is the second-largest investor in Egypt: 2nd-largest-investor-in-Egypt(https://egyptindependent.com/saudi-arabia-is-2nd-largest-investor-in-egypt-minister/). Besides pledging to increase its investment in Egypt, Saudi Arabia’s mega project of $500 billion bordering Jordan and Egypt will rely on getting water from the Nile River.
Sudan is the biggest beneficiary.
Sudan is the biggest beneficiary, but Egypt bought the generals, and they are doing its bidding instead of serving the needs of the Sudanese people. Besides helping to reduce flooding, Sudan will have a stable water source to develop its vast agriculture capacity once the dam is complete.
Egypt is falsely telling Saudi Arabia, Israel, and other Arab countries with investment and ties with Egypt that all bets are off the table if Ethiopia builds its hydroelectric dam that churns water instead of keeping any of it.
Consequently, Saudi Arabia is hell-bent on stopping this dam by any means necessary, including buying up Sudanese generals, supporting TPLF and financing Egyptian diplomatic strangulation of Ethiopia, expelling domestic workers, women, and children of Ethiopian origin from Saudi Arabia in retaliation.
Thus Egypt’s Problem is not the absence of or loss of water, its future economic development with the support of primarily with Saudi Arabia secondarily other states such as Israel using the Nile. Egypt has convinced Saudi Arabia and Israel that Ethiopia’s dam impedes those megaprojects. This fear-mongering enabled Egypt to align some countries squarely behind, especially Saudi Arabia, wrongly. Of course, the GERD will not materially affect these projects. Still, Egypt is exaggerating to force Ethiopia into an agreement that may violate Ethiopia’s sovereignty and put a barrier to future development and handicap future generations from benefiting from the Nile water.
With the urging of Egypt, Saudi Arabia is financing the TPLF offensive and expelling hundreds of thousands of innocent families and children of Ethiopian origin while allowing over 2 million Egyptians to reside and work in Saudi Arabia.
At the urging of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Sudan is giving sanctuary and arms to TPLF and wants to provoke Ethiopia into armed conflict to stretch its military. Sudan is also funding and encouraging groups in Benishangul to sabotage the dam’s construction by killing drivers, closing roads, and other tactics.
Sudan and Egypt moved their military to the Ethiopian border and held regular military exercises to flex their muscles and threaten Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are financing extremist forces to thwart Ethiopia’s path to democracy and distract it from completing the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. While destabilizing Ethiopia has the potential to unhinge the whole region given Ethiopia’s size and population, the world is watching with relatively benign tolerance not to antagonize two of the most powerful and dictatorial nations in the Arab world.
With Saudi Arabia’s financing, Egypt is signing a defense agreement with most of Ethiopia’s neighbors, Sudan, Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Djibouti, and others, almost encircling Ethiopia. Some of these countries are getting hundreds of millions to sign a defense agreement with Egypt to isolate, punish, and destabilize Ethiopia. African-countries-sign-military-agreement-with-Egypt: https://newbusinessethiopia.com/politics/african-countries-sign-military-agreement-with-egypt-as-cairo-prepares-for-war/)
Saudi Arabia finances TPLF’s ability to field over 100,000 combatants with food and weapons with the urging of Egypt. Besides supporting terrorist TPLF, Saudis are financing Egyptian belligerence and diplomatic offensive at the UN and Arab League.
Why is Saudi Arabia expelling thousands of legal residents of Ethiopian origin from Saudi Arabia, funding TPLF, and throwing money to any country standing against Ethiopia? Saudi Arabia has a massive current and future investment in Egypt, including producing food using the Nile Water. The Egyptians wrongly convinced them that their investment and food supply were at risk besides their huge future investment plans.
Logically, the Ethiopian government will send a delegation to convince the Saudis otherwise and Sudan that the risk does not exist. Like its poor diplomatic relations with the USA and Europe, Ethiopia ignored both Sudan and Saudi Arabia.
So the Saudis and Sudan are lashing out. Sudan signed a defense treaty with Egypt to threaten and possibly invade Ethiopia, throwing its weight behind TPLF and other rebels in Ethiopia. The Saudis are throwing millions of petrodollars to any country willing to sign an anti-Ethiopian defense agreement with Egypt.
Sudan and Saudi Arabia are victims of Egyptian intrigue; however, this may force Ethiopia to seek new alliances with regional powers like Turkey and Iran to fend off these threats, thus forcing Ethiopia and Sudan into a bloody war.
The article is a revision of a past publication under the same title by Jamal Altar
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