A recent video depicts the Renaissance Dam crisis; an Ethiopian woman holds a jug and pours water into two small cups, saying that her country is in control. At the same time, the Egyptians reacted by posting several videos on the Internet; one of them suggests that the dam is not invulnerable to attack!
Surely, Ethiopia has every right to save its people from poverty, mainly, as it claims that the Renaissance Dam will provide electricity to 70 million Ethiopians out of a total population of 100m. It is also expected that similar development projects in sub-Saharan Africa will benefit the countries of the African continent and the whole world.
Having said that, it is obvious that the negotiations with Addis Ababa have reached a dead end, and that Egyptian water security is in actual danger. With negotiations approaching the point of “no return”, Egypt’s options seem quite limited in dealing with an impending crisis. The risks include drought affecting more than half of the country’s agricultural area, an increasing rate of poverty, and increased unemployment in the country. The most critical thing that this issue can cause is starting a war. This is because, basically, Ethiopia, through its intransigence, is declaring war on Egypt.
Unfortunately, Ethiopia is adopting the method of “prevarication” in its negotiations with Egypt and Sudan; playing on the time factor by sitting at the negotiating table every time without reaching an agreement. In the meantime, work is in full swing to finish building the dam and filling it.
Egypt is currently working on internationalising the Renaissance Dam issue by referring it to the Security Council and holding the countries of the world responsible for this impending African crisis. However, Ethiopia had internationalised this issue years ago, when it was keen on the participation of countries such as China, Germany, Italy and others in financing and building this dam.
However, discussing the issue of the Renaissance Dam in the Security Council, the African Union, the World Bank and others without reaching any result is further evidence of the international community’s inability to resolve any conflict. The council’s failure to provide humanitarian aid to nearly four million Syrians in northern Syria is a clear demonstration of that.
The Renaissance Dam disaster is one of the indirect consequences of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’. The construction of this dam coincided in 2011 with the start of a series of problems that have resulted in the rise to power of extremists in Egypt. These concerns in turn distracted the country from its internal threats. However, the authorities of Addis Ababa continued silently and happily to work on the construction of the dam. When things settled in Egypt, the nightmare of this dam has become a reality.
Unfortunately, the world knows only the language of power: political, diplomatic and economic power, and above all military power. Egypt did well by re-modernising its army, building more military bases and strengthening its navy and air force. Nevertheless, the challenges that the largest Arab army has to face are not limited to preserving the Nile River. From the west, there is Libya, and to the east, there is the Sinai and the threat of terrorist groups. In the southeast, Turkey seeks to find military bases in countries such as Djibouti and Somalia and control the Strait of Bab Al Mandab. In the Mediterranean Sea, another war is igniting to control the promising areas of natural gas.
Development in one country shouldn’t be at the expense of another. As I have always said, “There is enough food on the table for everyone,” provided everyone takes only what they need; otherwise some will be exposed to satiety and indigestion while the rest will suffer from hunger. Here, it is natural that equality should not mean to divide food equally among all, but instead according to their needs.