Egyptian Aak: Week 22

Week 22

Main Headlines:








A Few Thoughts

Egypt and Ethiopia 

 The buzz about the new Ethiopian dam has taken an inflammatory path following President Morsi’s visit to Ethiopia and the blunt decision by the Ethiopian authority that immediately followed his visit  to divert the path of the Blue Nile as a preparatory step to building the proposed dam.

 Many Egyptians rightly see the Ethiopian decision as a slap in the face; they are also  baffled by the seemingly placid response of the  Egyptian authority to this imminent  crisis. As one Egyptian analyst aptly stated, “I felt our Presidential spokesman was the representative of the Ethiopia government, not ours.”

 This news was followed, as usual, with a heated, bitter, and polarized debate on whether the dam will or will not  affect Egypt or from  new, supposed “experts” claiming knowledge and understanding of water security and dam technology.  One of these sensible voices who explained the problem is Hani Raslan from the  Ahram Strategic Center, he stated the simple fact, yet one somehow  missed by the confused Egyptian authorities,

 that the Nile River is  an international river, Ethiopia has no right to make a  unilateral decision without the consent of other stakeholders oike Egypt and Sudan. Therefore, the current talk about past Ethiopian grievances and unfair previous treaties are simply beside the point. These are issues that Egyptians should discuss and reflect on , but such discussion/issues should not divert them from their main goal, which is to prevent a third party (Ethiopia) from controlling Egypt’s water supply.

It is crucial indeed to understand that the Egyptian response will be widely monitored in the countries of entire Nile basins. Any perceived weakness could have tremendous, indeed perhaps negative,  impacts in the future. Serious negotiations with the Ethiopians must start soon, while all options should be considered. As in all conflicts, diplomacy without threat of force is empty talks. Yes, Egypt should be fair to Ethiopia and address  its needs, but Ethiopians should also be fair and acknowledge Egypt’s rights.

 There are two elements to the problem to close consider, namely, the external risks and the internal management of water resources. Undoubtedly, water is not a commodity that Egyptians should ever take for granted, Egypt needs to recalibrate its domestic management, cut waste, and increase efficiency; however, this focus should happen side by side with fighting to maintain Egypt’s water rights clearly protected under international law. Any decrease in  the Egyptian share of water will not only affect that country’s water supply, but also crop irrigation and electricity production emanating from the high dam.

 Still, President Morsi is waiting for the tripartite committee report despite that fact that  its report is non-binding. Even more alarming is that is  still  no committee of independent experts established  or a task force put in place to handle the crisis. Instead, politicians in Egypt are busy blaming Israel for being behind the crisis even though  I still cannot find any reliable reports to support that claim, Israel may be meddling in Africa, but so isChina and the U.Ss, which in and of  itself is no proof that Israel  is behind the dam project.  Ethiopia has always wanted to build the dam and and now sees an opportunity for many reasons, including the  weak leadership currently in Cairo. The Israeli spin is deliberately being added to the dam topic, as in many past incidents,  as a likely mental preparation to convince  the Egyptian public of an inevitable failure when managing the crisis, and convenient argument for declaring that Israel, “the mother of all- evil is behind the project.”  If it is true that Egypt knew of this planned diversion of the Nile in advance, then the authorities’ mismanagement of the growing  crisis is simply appalling.

 Nonetheless, there are certain signs that the Egyptian government has started to appreciate the full depth of the problem. Ethiopia,  the father of the Nile, as many local Ethiopians like to believe, has turned the page, and communicating/producing  creating facts/actions on the ground that may be difficult to reverse.

 One final note– the talks about birth control are also missing the point. Yes, Egypt does urgently need to handle its over-population, but this should be   a long term plan. For now, the country has  90 million people to feed, and it cannot immediately get rid of half of them just  to please the Ethiopians.


The rebel campaign is gaining ground, millions are joining in, but what is next? the honest answer is, I am not sure. I also agree with H Hellyer that the movement will have to do a lot more than it is calling for right now.  What I do not want, and I think many Egyptians share my views, is for violent, bloody confrontations on 30 June without meaningful outcome.

Legal mess

The implications of today’s Constitutional Court verdict is still unclear, but I find this report sums up the entire story of Egypt’s legal mess following the oust of Mubarak: “Egypt parliament ruled illegal, but to stay on.” Yes, it may be illegal, but it will continue, and we just have to live with it, at least for now.

Should we allow Military and Police  to vote?

The answer is definitely yes, however I agree with Nancy Messieh there are pitfalls, that is why “talk of a military and police vote should be tabled, while the more pressing concerns within the elections and political participation laws (district divisions, voting abroad, a ban on religious slogans etc.) are addressed.”

Good Read

  • Watching Egypt crumble. Sara Abou Bakr
  • Fascism is no solution to Egypt’s problems. Khaled Mansour

Finally, here are Jayson Casper‘s prayers for Egypt.

About nervana111

Doctor, blogger and Commentator on Middle East issues. The only practising doctor who write in Middle Eastern politics in UK.
This entry was posted in Diary of Aak, Egypt and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Egyptian Aak: Week 22

  1. nedhamson says:

    Reblogged this on Ned Hamson Second Line View of the News and commented:
    The President does not seem up to the job he took…


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