Friday, June 28, 2013

The Threatened Egyptian Dirty War

June 28, 2013: U.S. diplomats are trying to ease tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt. Egyptian politicians were caught on live microphones discussing ways to stop Ethiopia’s Nile River dam projects. The options discussed included covert military attacks and supporting rebel groups –in other words, the Egyptians were vetting war options.  The U.S. has proposed that Ethiopia and Egypt establish a joint working group to examine the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The U.S. has urged Ethiopia to minimize the impact of the dam on downstream nations. The Egyptian leaders were initially embarrassed but they discovered that the Egyptian people rally around the Nile. Despite its own numerous internal troubles, the Egyptian government has continued to threaten Ethiopia should Ethiopia fail to suspend dam construction. Egypt has diplomatic and political power. However, threatening Ethiopia with covert attack invites retaliation by Ethiopia and at the moment Egypt is far less stable than Ethiopia. Egypt lacks the logistical capacity and long-range strike weapons to conduct a sustained military operation. Conceivably they could use the Nile River as a supply line, but barges on the river would be very susceptible to interdiction by air attack, mines or other forms of interdiction. (Austin Bay)