New Rumblings In The Horn Of Africa Over Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,

Tensions are rising between Egypt and Ethiopia over the latter’s Grand Renaissance Dam.

Cairo recently reiterated its longstanding position that it’s against Addis Ababa’s construction of this megaproject on the Blue Nile river through which it receives most of its water, believing that the dam would allow Ethiopia to control downstream Egypt’s access to this resource and thus place it in a strategically vulnerable position. The Horn of African state hit back at the latest criticism by stating that it won’t be thwarted in carrying out this nationally important development project, and it also refuted the rumors which claimed that Qatar was partially funding the dam. Egypt’s latest infowar campaign against Ethiopia’s initiative is thought to be fueled in part by Sudan’s strategic realignment towards Addis Ababa in this dispute and more broadly in a larger Silk Road context, which has totally changed the dynamics and correspondingly placed Cairo on the defensive.

This simmering situation is much bigger than its trilateral format would suggest because it’s taken on contours of the Gulf Cold War over the past couple of months. Qatar worked quickly to patch up its previously rough relationship with Ethiopia ever since the Saudi-led but Emirati-orchestrated effort to “isolate” Doha on purported anti-terrorist pretexts, while at the same time its pro-Egyptian UAE former partner doubled down on its military presence in Ethiopia’s neighboring rival of Eritrea and the self-declared statelet of “Somaliland” on the pretense of using their territories to aid in the disastrous War on Yemen. Altogether, a dangerous trend is emerging whereby the Gulf Cold War is expanding to the Horn of Africa in seeing an Emirati-aligned Egypt encouraged by its GCC partners to behave more bellicosely towards a Qatari-backed Ethiopia, with the Grand Renaissance Dam becoming a transregional symbol of proxy discord.

Egypt knows that it will forever remain dependent on Ethiopia in the event that the project is completed, which would in turn place the world’s most populous Arab state and the GCC’s top non-Gulf ally under the influence of Qatar’s allies in Addis Ababa, something which is unacceptable for both President Sisi and his monarchic sponsors so long as Doha is perceived as supporting the Muslim Brotherhood that threatens them all. Short of any formal state-to-state conflict, Egypt and the UAE could use Eritrea as a launching pad for organizing anti-government destabilization efforts against Ethiopia, something that Cairo is already suspected of doing when it comes to Addis Ababa’s concerns that they’ve been manipulating the country’s centrally positioned and most populous plurality of the Oromo to that end.

Should proxy warfare operations heat up in the Horn of Africa, then the implications could be geopolitically profound because they could endanger China’s Silk Road railway through Djibouti to the Ethiopian capital, which could in turn offset the spread of multipolarity to this strategic region. Amidst all of this, Sudan’s crucial position between the two most directly competing parties will become all the more important as a “balancing” force, but it will more than likely take China’s discrete Great Power diplomatic involvement to alleviate interstate tensions just like it decisively did between Bangladesh and Myanmar last week.


africoman Fourth Horseman Wed, 12/06/2017 - 09:38 Permalink

You dumb fuck think all your little head assumptions are all there is about a once great nation like Ethiopia.Mother fucker all civilization you happen to see eventually copied from African countries like Ethiopia, Egypt etcPlease do some studies if you got no clue before you rush posting your empty minded assumption and spout out the whitewashed 'knowledge' 

In reply to by Fourth Horseman

theprofromdover Wed, 12/06/2017 - 04:26 Permalink

Egypt still has the White Nile (after it passes through Sudan)All the rainfall in the upper Blue Nile fell on Ethiopia's mountains, how on earth does Cairo think they have first claim on the water?

webmatex Wed, 12/06/2017 - 05:22 Permalink

Egypt had 60 years to improve its water infrastructure after the USSR built the Asswan dam for them. Nothing.After 60 years of US/Zio destruction and arriving finally at a chance for a more stable ME - they want a water war?Gaddaffi had it right - Gold, Water, Food and Education for the people. 

africoman Wed, 12/06/2017 - 05:55 Permalink

I am from the Nile source, when we began the Grand Renaissance Dam, it was at beginning of 'Arab Spring' and Egipt was in turmoil, otherwise we can't begin it as they orchestrate a lot of strings to pressure us.Saud also one enemy funding destabilization in the country and wars,as a result we are two countries Ethiopia and Eritrea losing the control of the Red Sea and the Gulf.Now the rumor is Egipt claiming Qatar has given us fund/loan for the dam, which is false.They want the Nile 100% as their mental state is on a colonial agreement that GB gave them in a long time which the Ethiopia 85% contributor never signed for and outdated.The Water politics is the next line of conflict they can incite at any time, it's a time bomb. And mind you the military build-up of the western on Djibouti port, Chinees, Americans all, it's unheard of and little Ethiopia doing nothing.Even the majority don't know what is going on in the region.Amidst Saud leased ports in Eritrea, Djibouti, Somali for 100 years why?In my book, our external adversaries are Saud and Egipt courtesy of western intelligence and subversion

Faeriedust africoman Wed, 12/06/2017 - 06:10 Permalink

For the last four hundred years under dominance of "Enlightenment" thinking, we as humans have never question if we SHOULD do some Promethean project of engineering, but only if we CAN.  For at least five thousand years the Nile has flowed, and a civilization has flourished at its mouth because and only because the Nile flowed.  Now the people living where the Nile flows from are numerous and powerful enough to hold on to this precious resource instead of allowing it all to flow away.  And yes, they must have some rights.  But so do people downstream.  I'm not going to pick a side, but it's a question that needed to be thought out and negotiated long, long before specific plans were made to do the thing.  There are too damned many humans in the world now; we can't just blithely do whatever we want without hurting someone.  EVERYTHING WE DO affects someone else.  This species needs a crash course in ethics, not more engineering.

In reply to by africoman

Logonaut Wed, 12/06/2017 - 08:08 Permalink

It looks awfully like we are witnessing the fulfillment of Isaiah 19. "The river shall be wasted and dried up" hasn't been fulfilled yet, but... "They shall turn the rivers far away" sounds awfully close to all those dams actual or proposed on both White and Blue Nile. 

mabuhay1 Wed, 12/06/2017 - 08:54 Permalink

This dam may be needed by Ethiopia to bring water to their parched lands, but it has always been known that Egypt cannot allow this dam to be completed. There will be a hard military attempt at stopping this dam in the near future, and it is unfortunate that there will be many outsiders involved, ranging from China to the rest of the Saudi coalition. This will get very bloody indeed,

gdpetti Wed, 12/06/2017 - 13:37 Permalink

'Divide and Conquer' baby!... surely after the last few thousand years, Egypt has become good friends with the source of their existence? Surely they need not worry after eons of good relations? Surely it isn't a problem for others to do as they do? Isn't this the same with the rest of our Axis of Evil? Surely we should be encouraging everyone to act like us, right?