Diplomacy is an option to deter un necessary war, but sometimes war is un avoidable.
By W. Yilma June 19, 2013
The voices we are hearing from the Egyptian side regarding the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam are not new for Ethiopians. It is the continuation of the Egyptian wrong policies against the upper Nile riparian countries, in particular to Ethiopia. In our history, Egyptian has never been smooth relation with Ethiopia. They are the sworn enemy of Ethiopia. The radical Muslim brother hood officials, including their president statement recently broad casting through various media outlet is a true witness to show who the Egyptians ruling class are. They clearly said in their policy statement that they will go to war if a drop of water decreases from their share, a share which was adopted illegally by colonizer and colonized. What does it mean? Is it true the construction of a dame does not decrease a drop of water? Let alone a drop of water there will be a reasonable amount of water flow decrease after the dam construction has finished (at least until the dam completely filled). Therefore, what we Ethiopian should know is that the recent agreement reached between Egypt and Ethiopia is a face value for Egypt to get time to conspire how they could stop the construction of the dam. Their first attempt will be conducting a diplomatic maneuvering by the Egyptian diplomats, to justify their case to the world community as if they are a victim as a result of Ethiopian dam construction (their references will be a colonial era document, which I will not call it agreement). Their second approach will be advancing and implementing different forms of aggressive war against Ethiopia (direct intervention, which is very unlikely and proxy war with the help internal and external enemies). I have also a reservation to say that our neighbors’, especially Eritrea and Somalia or Sudan will allow their territory to use by Egypt. It will be a hard decision for them to get in this kind of risky business. Regarding air force attack I do not think Egypt have such a sophisticating technology to penetrate to Ethiopia without huge and deadly sacrifices. Understanding all these likely and unlikely risks, Ethiopia should be well prepared to deter any aggression from this hostile country. It is not only a Grand Renaisons dam Egypt is angry about, but also the developmental endeavors going on in Ethiopia is considered a threat for Egyptian ruling classes.
In many cases, diplomacy in related with national interest is untrustworthy. Therefore, we have to prepare for unseen consequences. The reason I am saying this is that unless Ethiopia is weaken by internal and external war, Egyptian and their allies knows that Egyptian could not be save to exploit Nile river without equitable share with the upper Nile riparian countries. Nile River is not only “a gift of God” as they claimed, but also a national, security and political issue for Egyptian. They inherited this perception from their colonizer as well as from their backers (due to geo-political importance for their national interest). Therefore to erase this wrong and dangerous egoistic perception and to reach a workable agreement that could be benefited both countries will not be an easy task, especially with the present Egypt government which is ruled by radical Muslim brother hood. What need to be clear here is that Nile will be a good pretext for Egypt to destabilize Ethiopia. Egypt will get a good opportunity to spread radical Islam in Eastern Africa, in particular Ethiopia. Therefore, if Egyptian chooses war with no justifiable reasons, I do think at the end the Egyptian people will be a victim as a result of wrong and chauvinist policy of their government. The war will be externalized and many players will be involved. Then the result will not be favorable for Egypt.
I was deeply angry when I heard the speech of the Egyptian president. His speech was an empty slogan which does not hold a drop of water. We Ethiopian know how to deal with those who came to our territory to undermine our interest. We are not war mongering people, but when it needed we know how to defeat our enemies. President Mursi made a grave mistake and put himself in dire situation by saying un necessary statements against the country who give them life. What we heard from his speech is what we know. What strikes me from his speech was his request to make a speech to the Ethiopian people! I think he crossed the line. As an ordinary Ethiopian citizen, I advised him to choose his word when he speaks about other countries affair. Our blood is thicker than them when it comes to defending our right and freedom. When Egyptians are suffering under colonialism we kept our freedom, and this tradition is still in the minds and hearts of the present Ethiopian generation. Egyptian has tried many times to control the Abay basin. In all past wars they were humiliated and defeated terribly by Ethiopians. If the same thing has happen now, I do not think there will be a difference.
Egypt will never and ever win us by war! The only ware they can win us is through peace, mutual respect and understanding. I wonder why the successive Egyptian lacks this understanding and choose a wrong policy which put them in the trap where there is no way to get out. If Egyptian would have been thinking as a human being and respect others right to use their natural resources equitably and fairly, Ethiopia should be their first choice to be considered as their main ally and friendly country. Unfortunately, this does not happened, and the policy they are perusing for centuries creates anger and resentments among many Ethiopians to considered Egypt as their sworn enemy. This will continue as long as the Egyptian follows the same policy to sabotage Ethiopian efforts towards economic development.
The Ethiopian government should pursue aggressive diplomacy and show the world that we have no intention to harm other peoples. Other than this, attempt should be made to solve the domestic political differences. It should be clear that our enemy’s strength is our differences. They are effectively exploiting and openly declared to the world in their televised discussion between Muslim brother hood officials. One of their war fronts is emboldening the domestic oppositions (those Banda’s who betrayed their people and country) to cause instability. To diffuse this need a political skill and willingness from the government side. If we failed to understand this reality, and follow “Do nothing” policy, then we are contributing in adding fuel to the fire, and our developmental ambitions will be in vain. Solving internal political differences in this kind of time will strengthen our ability to deter and defend our country national interest in unison, and our collective sacrifice as one nation and people will be minimized. The Grand Renaissance dame will be our national pride. Hence uninterrupted and very aggressive propaganda should be implemented to raise awareness and boosting the feeling of Ethiopiawinet.
This is very important approaches to wake up the Ethiopian people and strengthening their determination to protect their unique identity and national interest. Others are effectively using this to fulfill their evil ambitious. It will not be a crime for us to use it for just causes and to fire back to our enemies in a very effective way. If the Egyptian prefers to stand on our way by saying Egypt is” gift of Nile”, we should tell them that the gift they appreciating and relied on is our property.
Long Live Ethiopia