US President Donald Trump’s talk about a “military solution” to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis raised questions about Egypt’s various options in dealing with this thorny file. Did Trump give the green light for Cairo to hit the dam? Or are they just statements that come in the context of his election campaign? What about the positions of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on these statements?
In a sudden and rare statement, Trump warned last Friday of the seriousness of the situation related to the dam crisis, saying that “the Egyptians may end up blowing up the dam.” A long time from its inception. “
The US President’s statement came during a phone call he had with the prime ministers of Sudan, Abdallah Hamdok and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, after announcing the normalization of relations between their countries, during which he also confirmed that Egypt “has every right to protect its share in the Nile waters, and that Ethiopia’s disregard for the recent agreement on the dam is a matter.” Unacceptable”.
Last February, Washington announced that an agreement had been reached on the mechanism of the dam’s work, and Cairo had signed it in its initials, in exchange for the abstention of Ethiopia, which accused the United States of siding with Egypt in this crisis, which prompted the US administration to impose sanctions on Addis Ababa and prevent some aid about her.
In exchange for official Egyptian silence about Trump’s talk about the military solution and the destruction of the Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia summoned Washington’s ambassador to it, and asked him for clarifications, considering that the statements would “ignite war in the Nile Basin region.”
The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also confirmed that the Renaissance Dam belongs to his country, adding that there is no force preventing Ethiopia from achieving its goals in this regard.
The European Union also entered the crisis line, warning – in a statement – of increasing tensions over the dam, and demanding the need to move forward to reach an agreement on the issue between Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa.
The Renaissance Dam negotiations have not made a breakthrough or a solution that satisfies everyone since their launch in 2011, as a result of mutual accusations between Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa of intransigence and the desire to impose unrealistic solutions.
It is noteworthy that the Egyptian regime has not officially commented on Trump’s statements, but it usually confirms its commitment to a negotiated solution and not to resort to military action.
And the promotion in Egypt – on communication platforms and the media – for the military option to deal with the crisis had previously declined, against the backdrop of Ethiopia’s declaration in late July of the beginning of the initial filling of the dam, where Sisi confirmed at the time his country’s keenness to negotiate, and even criticized the promotion of the military option by some Egyptians, as it is detrimental to the Egyptian policy in the dam crisis, he said.
Two days ago, the Egyptian broadcaster – who is close to the regime – Muhammad al-Baz said that the information he had “belies the American president, and that Egypt was not on its agenda the decision to strike the dam,” noting that most of the state broadcasters ignored the matter in their programs.
On the other hand, the former Egyptian Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Nasr El-Din Allam considered that Trump’s speech “clarifies the Egyptian leadership’s position on the Renaissance Dam, its lack of acceptance of the Ethiopian demands and its willingness for military intervention to maintain water security, saying,” I consider that this is a green light from Trump for Egypt to strike the Renaissance Dam. ” “.
The Egyptian military expert, retired Major General Talaat Musallam, warned of his country’s involvement in a war with Ethiopia, stressing that keeping pace with the US President in his talk about the dam bombing would be a mistake for Cairo and not for Washington.
Musallam said that Trump’s statement was “very dangerous if it was taken in the context of its issuance by the president of the largest country in the world.”
Musallam explained that Trump’s statement “greatly benefits Egypt in terms of American support in the negotiations, but it should be dealt with cautiously, and not be led by him,” stressing that “Trump did not intend to give Egypt a green light to strike the dam or to implicate it in a war with Ethiopia.”
The military expert advised his country’s government to put the statement “dangerous and important in the context of its relationship with the United States and Trump in the event that he wins the presidential elections, so that it will be built upon in managing the negotiating file for the dam, and not expecting more than that, and perhaps less as well.” Referring to the danger of being drawn into military action.
Regarding the context of the statement coinciding with Hamdok and Netanyahu’s phone conversation with Trump, Muslim believed that “most often it was not intended, but its impact remains in terms of embarrassing Egypt in its relations with the two countries.”
The military expert warned of the repercussions of a war in the region of fragile stability, saying, “In addition to its great effects, it may cause the collapse of the Ethiopian dam and the sinking of villages and cities in southern Egypt.”
On the other hand, the Egyptian academic and researcher in political science, Muhammad Al-Zawawi considered that Trump’s statements “cut off the doubt with certainty that Egypt is actually preparing and has ready-made plans to strike the dam, and that it resorted to the United States as a mediator in order to secure its right to strike the dam in the event that negotiations failed, which is what happened. Already”.
In statements to Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Zawawi said, “Egypt actually took the green light from the United States after Ethiopia withdrew from the negotiations, but in the end these statements are an American warning to Ethiopia to comply with the US-sponsored agreement to reduce tension and resolve this issue peacefully.”
The Egyptian researcher warned that “the world will not bear the presence of famine or drought in Egypt, as this situation will explode regionally and not only internally, given the largest population of Egypt.”
In turn, the Sudanese researcher specializing in African affairs, Abbas Muhammad Salih, said that no party is able to bear the choice of war, indicating that this hadith represented a moral victory for Cairo, but it could cause great harm to it.
In statements to Al-Jazeera Net, Saleh explained that “Ethiopia will be more strict than before in the Renaissance Dam negotiations, especially since Cairo no longer has any choice but the negotiating track.”
The Sudanese researcher attributed Trump’s statements to the fact that they come in the context of the US elections, saying, “Trump thinks that the mere verbal escalation is an achievement in his favor, as he did by addressing the issue of the dam.”
He added, “Egypt’s attack on the dam is presented as an assumption, which Egyptian officials may have echoed during their meeting during the mediation of the US administration last year, so Trump echoed it in his last speech.”
As for the Ethiopian side, especially Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Abbas Salih considered Trump’s speech “a valuable opportunity to rally the Ethiopians around him and the issue of the dam,” adding, “I expect that the entire course of the Renaissance Dam negotiations has ended in favor of Ethiopia.”
He went on to say, “Addis Ababa will focus on stirring up the political and diplomatic debate to revive the mechanisms that demand a review of historical agreements and the sharing of water quotas on new grounds, not only the eastern Nile basin, but the entire waters of the Nile River.”
Regarding his country’s position on the American conversation that was primarily directed at Prime Minister Hamdok, the Sudanese researcher ruled out that “the issue of the Renaissance Dam is one of the conditions that were presented to the Sudanese side to accept normalization with the Zionist entity, or to delete Sudan from the American list of states sponsoring terrorism.” Considering the link and overlap between the two events just a coincidence.