Friday, October 19, 2012

ETHIOPIA Vs EGYPT

ETHIOPIA Vs EGYPT
A Response to Robert Morley’s Doomsday Prophecy- will Egypt topple the Ethiopian Government? War may soon be coming to Ethiopia. theTurmpet.com,Oct 16,2012.

No doubt that Nile is the lifeline to Egypt or Nile has made Egypt skyrocket, as you said. But I observe more of personal feelings in your article than analysis based on facts on the ground. Thus, I think resulted in such unsubstantiated article.

Expressing my appreciation to your stand and ability to articulate it, I herein forward each of the points I disagree with you.

First, the construction of the Ethiopian Great Renaissance Dam /EGRD/ is not spur-of-the-moment as you implied saying “Ethiopia strategically announce” the dam at the advantage of the turmoil in Egypt. The Arab revolution began in March 2011. But Ethiopia planned it before half a year as it disclosed the Five Year Growth and Transformation Plan /GTP/. The GTP stipulates that Ethiopia’s energy producing capacity shall rise to 10000 MW by 2015. The current amount is 2000MW and the rest is to come nowhere but from the EGRD and other relatively small dams under construction. I don’t think you don’t understand the construction of such huge dam requires planning and long time preparation.

The other point I don’t agree with you is the influence of the EGRD on the downstream countries, particularly on Egypt. The three countries have established an Experts Panel to assess the impact of the dam on Egypt and Sudan. And it is expected to release its report by February 2013. Had the impact were known in advance, the panel would not have been established. But you prejudged the dam “undoubtedly” reduce the amount of water flow. This would have come from the expertise on the field, and based on scientific analysis. But, you and I, as laymen, have the right to give a mere guess. You rather judged, but let me guess.

The EGRD is meant to produce hydroelectric power which naturally do not consume but use water. The water, once forced the turbines to move, takes its natural course. Thus, it makes no difference on the amount of water. 

The other thing I would like to comment on is the colonial era treaty. You presented it as it is. What is your position on that? I afraid you personally reject it. The treaty that holds sole authority to Egypt, ignoring the source of the Nile water, is not by any means fair. To put ceiling on the upstream countries to depend on the will of Egypt over the use of water from the river that flows at their doorsteps is not acceptable. But you don’t dare to contest it simply because of your sympathy to Egyptians and vacuity to Ethiopians. However, now Ethiopians are in a position to defend their right as well as their African brothers.

You are glad Nile helped transform modern Egypt. But you don’t seem okay with the benefit it could give Ethiopia. Is there anything wrong if Ethiopia’s regional importance increases unless it is at the expense of others? Is that not what Egypt has on the Arab world? Ethiopia’s fast and sustained economic growth demands power and its neighbors desperately needed electricity. So what is wrong with tackling such problems if not worth admiring? I am not saying you are against Ethiopia’s interest. But your acuity on the importance of the GERD seems biased.

You extremely abused words to ignite public wrath and receive public favor among the Egyptians. Your expressions like “power to destroy Egypt” and “unmitigated disaster” are few among the many. You said, “Allowing Ethiopia to construct this dam is somewhat like Israel allowing Iran to build a nuclear arsenal.” What ails you, brother? What an evil lies on you to compare a power plant with a nuclear bomb? Moreover, you presented nothing to show me how GEFD detonates Egypt. Please, try to substantiate it.

What captured my attention are the three choices Egypt faced, as per your analysis: political and economic pressure, military intervention and supporting proxy militant groups. The first option is what Egypt has been doing and beers no fruit. The new Ethiopia is not as it were few decades ago. Thanks to its late visionary leader, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s astonishing leadership, its economy can now shoulder such huge development projects. Besides, the overwhelming commitment taken by its stalwart citizens is priceless. “As we begun we will finish.” is everyone’s motto. Therefore, economic pressure had limited effect.

For the second option, Ethiopians are not new to war. And they had no history of being colonized or defeated by foreign troops, be it from Europe or from Africa- not because these countries did not attempted it but because they served their hand. And Egyptians know more than any country else, how bitter the result would be, if they tried it again. In addition, its peace hangs by a slender of thread. Egypt has to go long before finishing its homework towards political and social stability. 

As for the third option, I don’t think Egypt is not trying it. Yes, there is an increasing concern over radicalism and incidents of terrorist acts are being witnessed. But the Ethiopian defense and security and the public at large are defending it effectively. And the government has huge potential not yet utilized to combat radicalism and terrorism.

To my surprise, you knowingly or unknowingly, ignored the fourth option: Egypt could cooperate with Ethiopia so as to achieve the maximum mutual benefit Nile would grant both the upper and lower riparian countries. As the great leader Prime Minister Meles Zenawi called it the Nile water is not a zero sum game where one must lose for the other to gain.

Nonetheless, whichever option Egypt take, Ethiopia will not return. And the time when Egypt could play a critical role in turning Ethiopia into a forced allied state has gone. Unlike your expectations, no single event is bearing out your doomsday prophecy.
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