July 24, 2022
Aklog Birara (Dr)
Part 1 of 8
“Indeed, the US has a long criminal history of meddling into the political affairs of other nations —a history that spans at least a century and, since the end of World War II, extends into all regions of the globe, including western parliamentary polities. This interview with Noam Chomsky reminds us that the United States is no stranger to election interference; in fact, it is an expert in this arena.”
Noam Chomsky Interview, “On the long history of US meddling in foreign elections, January 29, 2017
“In his Christian New Testament Epistle to the Galatians, Paul the Apostle writes: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Ethiopians and the rest of Black Africa are now used to US government sanctions and the threat of sanctions. Sanctions are solely intended to influence government policy in Ethiopia and in the rest of Africa. Sanctions are intended “to give effective or authoritative approval” for the sanctioning power. Sanction is war by a different and “civilized” means. Punitive sanctions give the USA international legitimacy and global acceptance (the UN system) and allow it “to impose a penalty or economically or militarily coercive measures.” The harm to the target county can be devastating. For example, sanctions prevent access to investment capital.
Sanctions are not the only tools the United States deploys to punish or to change regimes that the US does not approve. Proxy wars, cyber-attacks, direct or indirect support to domestic opponents and insurgents feature prominent in US foreign policy.
My thesis in this commentary is that, behind relentless proxy wars and lawlessness in Ethiopia —ethnic, terrorist and others—are Egyptian machinations and Egypt’s cohort of internal and external conspirators, plotters, supporters and enablers.
This external threat that bedevils Ethiopia and threaten its very survival are fueled hugely by fierce domestic competition among ethnic political elites for political power and resources; by terrorist actions; by the dearth of wisdom and statesmanship among Ethiopia’s leaders; as well as by misguided government policies and priorities. This pathology within emboldens external forces.
The reason for Egypt’s multipronged attack of Ethiopia are two-fold a) to forestall the completion (third filling and the rest) of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (the GERD); and b) to abort other irrigation and hydroelectric power generation dams. Egypt is determined to keep Ethiopia ethnically and religiously polarized, conflict ridden, lawless and poor. It spends tons of dollars to do this.
Egyptian hegemony over the Nile and proxy wars
In June 2013, Egypt warned Ethiopia over potential diversion of waters from the Blue Nile (Abay) to fill the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a 6,000 megawatts hydroelectric power generation project financed in its entirety by Ethiopians. At that time, Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi threatened Ethiopia and declared that “all options are open” in dealing with any threat to his country’s water supply posed by the GERD and future dams.
While President Morsi refrained from declaring war against Ethiopia, he announced publicly that Egypt will not permit Ethiopia to endanger its water supply. Arab media and the BBC quoted President Morsi saying that “Egypt’s water security cannot be violated at all.”
Mr. Morsi who was later overthrown was adamant and clear that “As president of the state, I confirm to you that all options are open.”
Egyptian state policy of hegemony over Blue Nile waters and veto power over the operation and management of the GERD have not changed since. In a meeting with Tanzania’s Foreign Minister June 11,2022, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi “stressed Egypt’s firm position towards preserving its water security and all historical rights acquired in the Nile waters, through reaching a binding legal agreement on the rules for filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that preserves the right of current and future generations to the Nile, the main source of water in Egypt.”
Egypt is not alone in its claim of “natural and historical rights” over Ethiopia’s Blue Nile /Abbay river and tributaries that together supply 86 percent of Nile Waters. The Arab League and the European Union support Egypt. American support to Egypt over the GERD is subtle.
Egypt does not contribute an ounce of water. Ethiopia’s water supply to Egypt is a free good, an entitlement that, in my assessment is a relic of the colonial era.
In March 2020, former US Ambassador to Ethiopia, David Shinn, wrote an OPED that urged that “The United States Must Not Pick Sides in the Nile River Dispute.” Instead, he recommended rightly that “Washington should be helping them (Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan) compromise, rather than doing Cairo’s bidding.” The EU should have followed the same policy.
Ambassador Shinn’s proposal that “A Nile agreement will have to be a part of a cooperative framework for greater regional and economic integration. The GERD will heighten the interdependence among the countries that share the Nile and enhance the need for close and proactive coordination to optimize the river’s various uses across borders. As climate change creates new vulnerabilities such as erratic rainfall, it will become even more essential to actively coordinate water usage across the full stretch of the Nile.”
During the impasse of negotiations in early 2020 and when Egypt and Sudan reverted to the US and the World Bank as “mediators” and imposed severe conditions on Ethiopia, The International Crisis Group advised Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan that in the long-term, “The parties should support efforts towards a long-term trans-boundary cooperation agreement up and down the basin. This is the option that the EU failed to push.
The Center believed that “Egypt could demonstrate good faith by rejoining the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), the most effective platform to reach a broader Nile basin agreement. This gesture would be both forward-leaning and justified by the present state of affairs: Egypt (along with Sudan) froze participation in the NBI because upstream countries refused to abide by the 1959 Nile agreement, which allocated 100 per cent of Nile waters to the two downstream countries. Those disagreements are now moot as explained above: the dispute is no longer a battle for hydro-hegemony but rather an argument about how to share resources in a way that benefits all riparian states.”
Unfortunately, Egypt is adamant that its colonial era of “natural and historical rights” over Nile waters is sacrosanct and overrides all other options. The record shows that instead of negotiating for a win-win solution among all Nile River riparian countries, Egypt:
- Arabizes, regionalizes and internationalizes this legitimate and African rights issue.
- Sticks rigidly and arrogantly to colonial era 1929 and 1959 Nile water treaties and agreements that are non-binding on Black African Nile River riparian countries. Egypt refuses to accept that “The Nyerere doctrine of 1962”that nullifies and makes colonial agreements and or treaties non-binding.
In an unprecedented move, the European Union (EU) made a huge strategic mistake when it announced recently that it embraces and supports Egypt’s claim of “natural and historical rights”. This diminishes the EU’s moral authority and legitimacy that it can play an impartial role on future Nile matters.
- The EU, Egypt and other parties know that the 1959 Nile water treaty with Sudan grants Egypt 5 billon cubic meters of water,18.5 billion cubic meters of water to Sudan, and avails 10 billion cubic meters of water for evaporation. The treaty grants none to the rest of Black African Nile River riparian countries including Ethiopia.
Ethiopia never accepted Egypt’s hegemony over Blue Nile waters. At the same time, Ethiopia never threatened to harm Egypt or Sudan. It continues to adhere to the spirit of the Declaration of Principles (DOP) Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed in 2015.
- In addition, Egypt believes that an exclusionary, unfair and unjust Nile water treaty with Sudan facilitated by then colonial power Great Britain grants Egypt veto powerin the development and utilization of Nile waters. This veto power is identical to the veto power granted to Nuclear power nations in the UN Security Council.
The implication of Egypt’s veto power is that it poses an existential threat for Ethiopia. It cannot harness its Blue Nile water resources for hydro power and or irrigation projects. It must first seek permission from Egypt on a natural resource asset that Ethiopia’s geographical location granted to Ethiopia; and not to Egypt.
Egypt is a desert. It does not produce an ounce of water. But Egypt consumes huge quantities producing agricultural commodities, a bulk of foods for export. Egypt squanders tens of billions of cubic meters of water each year.
A free good is not free at all free
The “gift of the Nile” is really a gift from Ethiopia. Luckily for Egypt and Egyptians, Ethiopia has been supplying Egypt with its waters for thousands of years, for the most part rent free.
As my distinguished friend and compatriot, Mr. Kidane Alemayehu, who worked in Lesotho as a high official keeps reminding Ethiopians and the rest of the world, there is no such entitlement as a free good when it comes to a precious and finite asset, water.
The small nation of Lesotho supplies waters to South Africa and earns more than $50 million per year from South Africa. For the government of Egypt paying rent for Blue Nile waters to Ethiopia is unthinkable. Because, Egypt believes that it owns the Nile. Its core argument is that any reduction in the amount of water flow to Egypt is a national security matter.
It irks me that Egypt does not entertain the counter argument that Ethiopia’s failure to harness its Blue Nile waters for the betterment of its people is equally a national security issue.
In the light of this undeniable fact, I am convinced that someday in the not- too-distant future, Ethiopia will be in a stronger position to charge Egypt reasonable annual rent for suppling it with fresh waters from the Blue Nile and tributaries. But Ethiopians must defend payment and fight for it. Ethiopia must, as a national priority, restore peace, stability and human security.
- Egypt’s covert and overt operations against Ethiopia have a long and infamous track record. a) In 2014, Ethiopia arrested a group of Egyptian spies, state agents and saboteurs operating in concert with the TPLF, OLA and other anti-government individuals and groups. b) Egypt signed military cooperation and security dealswith Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan, Uganda; and agreed on a deal for the construction of a hydroelectric construction project (the Nyerere hydroelectric generation dam) with Tanzania)
These Sub-Sahara African countries are members of the NBI group. Egypt’s primary intent in singling out and signing military, security and development deals with these NBI countries goes beyond altruism.
Behind these strategic deals is to alienate Nile River Black Africa from Ethiopia. It is at minimum to create doubt that African nations do not speak from the same script concerning the Nile in general and especially the GERD. It is to use Sub-Saharan African Nile River riparian countries as conduits for covert operations against Ethiopia.
There is no doubt in my assessment that Egypt is determined that it must weaken Ethiopia by a) recruiting into its orbit a group of NBI countries in support of its continued hegemony over the Nile; and b) financing and promoting ethnic and religious conflicts within Ethiopia to make it fragile, ungovernable and lawless.
In its incisive analysis “Egypt boosts relations with Nile Basin countries via military deals” dated 06-04-2021, Xinhua quotes Egyptian Political Scientist and Professor Tariq Fahmy with the University of Cairo who says rightly that “Although Egypt’s military agreements are meant to confront terrorism in Africa, they also carry Egyptian messages addressed to Ethiopia over its disputed giant Grand Renaissance Dam issue. Egypt’s rapprochement with the Nile Basin region would not only preserve the water rights of Egypt but also achieve regional security and stability.”
The lead reason is to send a clear message to Ethiopia that other options like overt military operations can be deployed.
Professor Fahmy opines “Egypt has been pursuing a cooperation-led strategy with the Nile Basin countries, mainly the ‘ring countries’ around Ethiopia to protect its water, which helped in changing the policies of some African countries towards Egypt.”
The alleged conspiracy and plot by the government of Uganda—a plausible “Trojan Horse” on behest of Egypt– against Ethiopia that I plan to analyze and discuss over the coming few weeks is inseparable from Egypt’s carefully crafted and executed military, security as well as development strategy and programs in Africa.
Egypt’s proxy war is real and poses an existential threat for Ethiopia. Egypt mobilizes the Arab world, the EU, the US and a selected few Sub-Saharan African country in its campaign against Ethiopia. Mobilization draws international attention. It enhances public relations and public diplomacy for Egypt. In turn, this offers Egypt regional and international backing and legitimacy as the party that is being harmed by Ethiopia’s GERD and beyond.
Egypt’s singular goal against Ethiopia is twofold: a) zero in on “a ring of countries around Ethiopia” and b) mobilize, finance and incentivize domestic terrorists like the TPLF and OLA and make Ethiopia ungovernable.
Ethiopians and the rest of Africa must be conscientious of Egypt’s corrosive, divisive and seemingly altruistic agenda that negates and undermine the Nyerere doctrine. This doctrine calls for all Nile River riparian nations to forego as non-binding colonial treaties and agreements; and instead, agree and adopt a new post-colonial, fair, just and equitable Nile River water sharing Agreement under the auspices of the African Union as soon as possible.
Ethiopia Shall Prevail!!
July 24, 2022
5 thoughts on “The Art of Dominance: conspiracies and plots against Ethiopia”
Well, it is the right thing to tell or ask Ethiopians to remain vigilant about the security and territorial integrity of their country at any time and especially at this extremely worrisome situation in which the ruling circle in power is working against the very unity and integrity of the people.
Dear seriously concerned compatriots, give heed what the Sudan and the South Sudan ruling elites are doing in the northern and down to the southern border of Ethiopia! Be honest about what our ruling elites led by the politicians of Oromization are doing in defending and protecting the very sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia.
So, who is decisively responsible and accountable for the very conspiratorial behavior of Egypt or any other country to exploit the very stupid and dangerous internal political illness caused by the very cynical and brutal ruling elites of ours?
It is very ridiculous to our intellectuals such as the writer of the above very long and redundant piece to continue the politics of just blaming external forces or actors as if it is a new phenomenon of world politics.
The writer did not say anything about the very idiotic and brutal ruing elites of ethno-centrism who are the main root causes of the situation he is talking about.
It is very unfortunate that it is because of this type of very opportunistic behavior of many intellectuals of ours that the ruling elites who put the country at a very critical risk have a good chance of playing their dirty and deadly political game without facing a meaningful public challenge!
The writer of the above piece was so silent about the continued stupid and dangerous political orchestration led by Abyi Ahmed and his company of the politics of deadly politics of ethno-centrism, which is getting worse and worse from the capital, Addis Ababa and throughout the country.
I really do not understand why our intellectuals are oaky with the very clumsy and opportunistic behaviors that try hard to help the root causes of a very serious internal political, socio-economic, moral, and spiritual crisis by simply keep blaming external actors! it is so dad and sad!!
bla bla bla!
First look into yourself and how shallow and fool you are to trust Abiy and thrown you whole weight to support him.
You do not have to tell us that every country works for its own national interests. By now a breast feeding infant understands this fact and you do not have to spit a lot about it.
The problem lies in what George Ayittee calls “Intellectual prostitutes” who supports puppet dictators that promote people massacre and genocide.
Blaming Egypt, America or Uganda is absurd. They are doing what they think benefits their country.
In stead of saying egnnn about other countries, do something stop the ongoing genocide in Ethiopia.
We know that the US as an Imperialist power is doing everything to destroy countries like Ethiopia that have a long history. Abiy and Co. are doing what America and the rest of the so-called civilized West want. That is why they are in complete agreement with the policy of the present ethnic-based government in Ethiopia. They know everything what is going on in Ethiopia over the last four years. While thousands of Amharas are being killed, they keep quiet as if they have never heard of the genocide. At the same time, America supplies weapons of all kinds to the Woyane Bandas in order to prolong the misery of our people. Therefore, the situation is more complex than you wrote it here.
Musevini is a life-time puppet of the British and the US. Everybody knows that. He will always do their bidding.
Uganda was the training ground for the Kagame-led Rwandan genocide that was part of a cascade of regime changes and population displacements that enabled George Bush’s and Bill Clinton’s mining companies to topple Mobutu and control the mines of Congo/Zaire. A two-prong genocide seems to be the style chosen for Ethiopia. TPLF will lead one and the various OLF hybrids from OLA to OPDO will lead the other. Both groups had trainings in Rwanda /Uganda by the same group that trained Kagame. Go figure.
One Shegitu Dadi, a very forward looking Oromo woman has the following to say on confederation. I’m copying and pasting her write-up without her authorization hoping that she’ll not mind.
“Here is how to save Amharas, Oromos and the country.
Once again in our recent history, Amharas have emerged as the holders of the MASTER key to solve Ethiopia’s multifaceted problems . How? By opting for confederation.
Amharas have no choice but to move for confederation simply because federation in the Ethiopian context does not work.
As a polirized multi-ethnic country, Ethiopia will not have a fair and free election without the opression of one or another ethnic group. Hence, democracy is an illusion that cannot be realized. The way Oromo rose to power and now control the entire country through proxy regional governments is the proof. Tigreans did it for the last thirty years and Oromos have stepped in Tigreans shoes to impose similar one ethnic group rule. With their number and size of their region, Oromo opressive rule will be much worse than Tigrean`s. Give another ten years to Oromo rule, Ethiopia will be the tail of the world by all standards of measure.
So, it is time for Amharas to exercise their constitutional right to self-determnation and vote on confederation. If they adopt conederation, it will give them the opportunity to attract direct foreign investment since confederation will enable them to have economic diplomats and even have embasies abroad cutting the Oromo controlled foreign ministry diverting foreign investment to Oromia and other favoured regions. Amharas can also have a defense force which will protect them from foreign invaders including ethnic Oromo organizations.
The Belgian model of confederation which appears to hep advance Amhara interests is something to explore.
In any event, Ethiopia needs vast decentralization resembling confederation since the federalism the country has adopted is notheing other than unitarism in disguise. Controlled from the centre, it has miserably failed to develop the country let alone prosper and ensure safety and security of its citizens. The chaos we see in the country right now has much to do with lack of development (in all sectors) and security. Both have proven beyond the capacity of the federal government to provide.Change of government at federal level is not the answer for these problems.
Tigreans have floated the idea of confederation, Amharas must follow. Tigreans know that they will not be fairly treated under Oromo rule; as a result, their choice of confederation appears just. Amharas must seize the opportunity to decide their destiny via self-determination as well without wasting another decade under incompetent Oromo rule. Despite all the atrocities they have committed, Tigreans are being heard and embraced by the Oromo rule since Oromos now feel tobe the savours of Ethiopia.
Folks! Don’`t be fooled!. Oromos pretend to be “savours” only if they rule the entire country as one piece. Like any other ethnic group that aspire to oppress and dominate , they are after resources. If Amharas want to be heard and embraced as Tigreans, they have to go for confederation. If confederation does not work, they have to say good bye to the Ethiopian state.
It is outdated for Amharas to hang on “mama ethiopia” cry since nobody in the country is interested in it any more. What Amharas got from this cry is atrocotoes, redicule and shame. All these on Amhara because they gave Oromos and other ethnic groups a country which they are not ready and willing to let go. If Amhara Insist on confederation, Oromos might call the army on it to protect the unity of the country! That will make them a laghing stock since they were in the forefront to weaken the unity of the country. Now they cannot be alllowed to reverse gear.
Amhara! Wake up and smell the coffee. Tell Oromos that you want confederation – if not confederation then separation. Oromo crack down will soften even disappear as it did for Tigreans if Amara opt for confederation. But the idea is not to see Oromo softening on Amhara, it is to seek real confederation as a wayout from decades long quagmire. Oromo softeneing does not take Amharas anywhere.
Try it! It will work and catapult Amhara development and growth to the sky and ensure their security. It will eventually liberate Oromos too from their bloody distructive path poised to takie everybody else down with them.
For us, Oromos, conederation is also the answer. ”