Today, The Two Mikes were lucky to have a discussion with Eddie Yeranian from his base in Cairo. Specifically, we talked about what appears to be a growing problem between Ethiopia and Egypt.
Currently, there are reports that the Ethiopian government plans to use its most important dam to take more water from the Nile, an act that would badly damage Egypt’s agricultural sector and, therefore, could lead to an Egyptian military response directed at that dam.
An Ethiopia-Egypt conflict is now only a possibility, but the situation merits close attention as the bulk of Europe and the U.S. Democratic Party hates Egyptian President SISI for removing Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood regime, and so there is no lack of powerful governments that could goad — or bribe — Addis Abba into acting.
According to the OC Register:
Ethiopia and Egypt, both American allies, have over recent years each contributed to stability in dangerous parts of the world. That is now at risk.
Ethiopia has been indispensable to Africa’s recent diplomatic and economic development. The largest participant in United Nations peacekeeping around the world, Ethiopian troops were critical to missions in Darfur, Sudan, and Somalia. Ethiopian troops constitute the largest part of the African Standby Force, the military wing of the African Union which has sent peacekeepers to conflict areas throughout Africa. Especially important have been operations in the Sahel, the territory stretching between the Sahara and the countries to its south: Chad, Mali, Central African Republic, and Northern Nigeria.
Just last week, the region’s stability was rocked by the killing of Chad’s president and a subsequent military coup. Instability allows terrorism to flourish. In 2014, 276 school girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, subjected to forced conversions and “marriages,” prompting Michelle Obama, among others to demand America not to look the other way.
France has put its troops into the region. America has offered intelligence sharing and logistical support – no one favors inserting U.S. troops. Real numbers of troops require African peace-keepers, and that means Ethiopia.
Egypt’s centrality to keeping peace in the Middle East is equally beyond dispute. Henry Kissinger observed, “The Arabs can’t make war in the Middle East without Egypt and they can’t make peace without Syria.” The cold peace between Egypt and Israel today at least prevents war, while the disintegration of Syria seems to prevent peace.
Egypt and Ethiopia are presently at odds, jeopardizing the good each country can otherwise do. The dispute is over the dam Ethiopia has constructed on the Blue Nile, the largest tributary to the Nile River, for whose water Egypt claims it has priority over all other nations. America hosted talks on how quickly the reservoir behind the new dam will be filled, when the rainy season starts. America’s role as a neutral intermediary, however, was lost when President Donald Trump announced that Egypt had the right to veto any diminution of Nile river flow. That pronouncement drove Ethiopia to leave the bargaining sessions in Washington.
The situation has now become even more complicated. The Ethiopian government is in civil war in Tigray, one of its provinces whose politicians dominated the previous Ethiopian government. The new Prime Minister purged Tigrayans from government and suppressed the indigenous military and political force in the province. Those forces then attacked an Ethiopian military post, and the Ethiopian government, supported by neighboring Eritrea, responded in great force.
Mr. Yeranian also described growing problems in Libya, where the UN-backed government is pushing to reopen the coast road along the Mediterranean, an action which would allow Islamist militants, terrorists, and radical clerics to enter the now relatively orderly eastern half of Libya seeking to reignite the civil war.
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