By Farzad Farhadi

Egypt and Ethiopia are in battle array

March 17, 2020 - 12:47

TEHRAN - Tensions between Egypt and Addis Ababa have mounted over the water, and senior Ethiopian military officials have threatened to retaliate if Cairo bombarded the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. In its latest stance, senior Ethiopian military officials have announced their readiness to prevent any attack on the dam.

Ethiopian military’s Chief of Staff General Adem Mohammed said, “We are ready to repel any military attack on the Renaissance Dam and we will retaliate in case of any attack”.

He expressed his stance during a visit to the dam, along with senior military officers.

On the other hand, Brigadier General Yilma Merdasa, Ethiopian Air Force Commander, said that the air force is ready to crush any airstrikes on the Renaissance Dam.

Ethiopia has refused to attend the negotiations with Egypt and Sudan in the U.S., stressing its water right and the use of its water resources. Although analysts point out that Egypt's military power is tangibly superior to Ethiopia, Egypt has the Aswan Dam that makes the country vulnerable. Egyptian legal and military experts have warned that if Ethiopia fills the Dam, Egypt will face great danger.

Many Egyptian activists emphasized that this is a serious matter and called on the Egyptian army to play its role in supporting Egypt's national security before it is too late.

Many Egyptian activists in social media have referred to Abdul Munim Riad, who was killed in March 1969, saying: He was with Egyptian army officers and troops at the forefront of defending the Suez Canal. This was the first time in contemporary military history that the chief of staff of armed forces was killed at the front line. In this complicated situation, the commanders of the army should follow Abdul Munim Riad’s path.

There is geopolitical coup

Abdelazim Hammad, former chief editor of the Al-Ahram and Al-Shuruq newspapers, said, “The most dangerous issue in connection with the Renaissance Dam will be water shortage and it is undoubtedly a geopolitical and strategic coup that a foreigner dominate the only source of life for the Egyptians”.

According to analysts and observers, the Ethiopian government’s refusal to negotiate on the Renaissance Dam means that the country is not serious about any political approach and seeks to fill the dam as planned. It does not consider the damage it could cause to Egypt, including reducing Egypt’s share of the water the Nile and inflicting harm on Egyptian farmers. 

 Ethiopia's insistence on the filling the dam as planned with the support of Washington and Tel Aviv

The Raialyoum newspaper cited the escalated tensions between Cairo and Addis Ababa and stated that Addis Ababa insists on its plan because it believes that as the source of Nile River, on which the dam has been built, is in Ethiopia, the issue is related to the country’s sovereignty. But in the meantime, the stance of the US and the Zionist regime that has taken Ethiopia's side is significant. It seems that the U.S. has turned its back on Cairo.

The paper also added that given Ethiopia's stance and U.S. conspiracy, Cairo is faced with three scenarios:

1.    Egypt will protect its water interests and security and target and destroy the dam and take the responsibility of all its consequences, especially as it has the military capability and an efficient air force for carrying out this move.

2.    Resorting to proxy war and backing the enemies of Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa. This move includes supporting the liberation movement of the Somali Ogadine region that Ethiopia has annexed to its territory, Islamic movements in Ethiopia, backing Eritrea in the border disputes with Ethiopia and fueling them, especially as the Egyptian intelligence service in the Horn of Africa is capable enough to do so.

3.    Egypt to cope with the situation and to accept its future losses and casualties and to avoid war, which is unlikely given the increasing criticism in Egypt and the way the Egyptian government is dealing with the Renaissance Dam crisis. In this regard, Egyptian parliamentarian Abdul Hamid Kamal from Suez said, “The Egyptian foreign minister must come to the parliament to comment on the remarks of Ahmed Nagash, Executive Director of the Regional Technical Office for the East Nile. Ahmed Nagash said that Egypt is acting as it is the owner of the Renaissance Dam and its proposal is ridiculous. This issue must be dealt with seriously in order to preserve the rights of Egypt’s people and its historic share of the Nile. The Ethiopian official has condemned Egypt and called the Egyptian proposal ridiculous. This is a dangerous matter and the ignorance of Egyptian rights and legitimate demand”.

Legal and military experts and analysts have warned that if Ethiopia continues to build and fill the dam within the next few months, the upcoming days will be dangerous. This will pose a great danger to Cairo.

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