- Egypt’s presidency to refer modified NGO draft law to Shura Council
- Kidnapped soldiers’ release still ‘a mystery’: Sinai tribal leader
- A widening rift between Shura and judges
- Bab Al-Wazir historic gate of Cairo has been bulldozed
- Free Egyptians Party members receive ‘death threats from Jihadist Group’
- Egypt orders hotels to prevent men from work in women’s spas
- Ethiopia begins diverting Blue Nile
- Egyptian ambassador: Ethiopia dam ‘a reality’ to cope with
- Al-Azhar housing officials in court on food poisoning charges
- New amendments to NGO bill fail to satisfy rights groups
- Islamists politicians wanted for questioning
- Anti-Morsi signature drive to hold Wednesday press conference
- Amnesty denounces Egypt’s civil society bill
- Officials, experts differ on impact of Ethiopia dam move on Egypt
- Egypt summons Ethiopian ambassador over Blue Nile move
- Abou Ismail claims Arab countries financing Renaissance Dam
- Tamarod campaign gathers seven million signatures
- Morsi launches ‘Takamol’ Conference for Developmental and Charity Foundations
- President Morsi and top officials mull response to Ethiopia dam move
- Presidency will not allow meddling in Egypt’s share of the Nile water
- HRW: New Draft Law an assault on independent groups
- Egypt’s GASC says has at least 5 months’ worth of wheat stocks
- Former Egyptian commander: Striking Ethiopia dam ‘impossible”
- Egypt Islamist parties call for HCC’s dissolution over elections law row
- Sabbahi: Egypt could use Suez Canal to retaliate against Ethiopia dam move
- Egypt insists Ethiopia honor pledge not to harm water interests not to harm water interests
- Presidency will not allow meddling in Egypt’s share of the Nile
- Dozen protest Blue Nile dam move outside Ethiopia’s Cairo embassy
- US embassy in Cairo warns Americans against visiting Giza pyramids
- Authorities arrest man suspected of posting video of kidnapped Egypt soldiers
- Shura council blames cabinet for Ethiopian dam crisis
- 5.0 earthquake hits South Sinai, felt in Cairo
- Diplomat: Egypt’s subsidized diesel being smuggled to Jordan
- Iranian tourism to Egypt resumes
- Khaled Saeed’s case adjourned until 6 July, defendants released
- 100,000 Egyptian Shias sign anti-Morsi Rebel campaign
- Seven alleged Black Bloc members released
- Egypt’s HCC rules against constitutionality of Shura Council, and Constituent Assembly
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.
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.”
Finally, here are Jayson Casper‘s prayers for Egypt.