Dear Global Citizens and Friends of the Nile Basin Countries Renaissance Communities:
The Nile Basin Civilization the Hope of the Future Green Revolution
Our value & Passion
1.Remembering the Past, understanding the present and chartering a better future for all.
- Wise people learn from the mistakes of others, clever ones from their own mistakes; However, Fools continue to repeat the same mistake over and over, and live in abject poverty, ignorance, disease and disability; expecting miracles to happen from their stupidity!
Our passion is to promote the culture of successes and excellence towards achieving our individual and collective potential-always!
### Belai Habte-Jesus,MD,MPHMon10Mar2014@11:02:17Washington, DCUSA###*
Re: Who Owns the Nile and the Future of the Nile Basin Countries or How can we allow the Nile to transform the Nile Basin Countries and Populations? Ethiopia is the Mother of Egypt and the mother of human civilization! A mother always creates, nurtures, creates synergy for a better long term strategic future of all its children that includes Egypt and the rest of humanity.
The World Global and universal community owns all the global resources as well as the universal resources respectively, that is 96% Dark Matter and Dark Energy and 4% Hydrogen and Helium and only 0.05% is the universal galaxies, near and distant stars including our solar system and global ecosystem.
Unfortunately, the global resources are owned by less than one percent of the global community and 99% of the global population owns nothing. So, this is a very challenging question as to who owns the Nile River Basin in a world where so much is owned by so few and so many own literally nothing. Fairness demands that we share the universal resources equitably, as well as the Nile River Basin resources! The natural answer is the populations of the Nile Basin Communities own the Nile River Basin and its tributaries.
However, when we consider past and future utilization and the potential capacity of the River as a source of both agricultural and energy green renaissance, then it becomes even more critical who owns and uses the Nile. The future of the Nile Basin depends on the people of the Nile Basin countries and their abilities to effectively communicate on how best to utilize this Great River for maximum potential to serve all communities.
The discussions should be based on scientific facts that resound to questions like what, who, where, when, how, and why questions which we refer to the Research Pyramid Questions, and use a Needs, Demand, Supply Interaction Model to explore CORT Analysis, that is Challenges, Opportunities and Threats, with the objective of “…Eliminating Threats, Reducing Risks and Converting Challenges into Opportunities for all” all the time. One can then follow this Strategic Goal with Scientific tool of Decision Science based Option Appraisal that considers immediate, short and long term strategic solutions towards, Best Options, Win-Win Options and Compromise Options.
The objective should be to choose the Best Option of the Nile Basin Countries Renaissance based on Scientific Green Transformation that changes the paradigm of the Nile Civilization once for all towards Green Energy to power our transformations We need (IT)3=Innovations, Integrity, Investment supported by talent, technology and transparent trade.
President Obama’s Power Africa project can be a unique tool in ensuring the above challenge and opportunities follow scientific decision science modules of effective option appraisals where every one benefits from the modern scientific agricultural and hydropower generation to improve the lives of all Nile River Basin populations!
If we can go to the moon, to space and then discover that we can own all 96% of Dark Matter and Dark Energy as well as the 4% Hydrogen and Helium, we should not fight over the 0.05% of Galaxies and Stars and Planetary Rivers! Yes the Great Nile River Basin that created the Nile Basin Civilizations of the Global Community, belongs to all humanity and especially to the Nile Basin population that is projected to increase at a very fast rate in decades to come.
Let cool and scientific heads prevail and the current generation create hydroelectricity and agricultural irrigation systems that can generate enough resources to feed the region and world at large. Yes we can do it as our ancestors have done it in the past.
It is not who owns the Nile but how are we going to share the energy and agricultural resources that can be generated if we utilize modern scientific technology and decision science products. Can we change the question and ask How can we utilize the Nile Basin Resources to the best benefit of the Nile River Basin Population and may I say the Global and Universal citizens?
I might add the construct of Universal Diving Living in Diversity, where we transform our individual and collective potential for excellence and success that is from primates to humans and then divinity by serving others in biodiversity, socio-economic diversity and eco-diversity! Imagine what type of Nile Basin Civilization we are leaving behind to subsequent generations! I believe that President Obama’s vision of a Nile Basin Civilization that Powers Africa and the Middle East is possible.
We need intelligent and wise leadership to make the Best Option ad Win-win Option transition happen! The future generation will judge us harshly if the present generation fails in this critical decision of our time. I look forward to learn your alternative perspective. Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH Global Connect, Inc. http://www.GlobalBelaiJesus.com and GlobalBelai4u.blogspot.com GlobalBJesus@gmail.com, 571.225.5736
Please find attached the Scientific Research material on the Nile Basin Civilization and Prospect Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPHSun09Mar2014@19:56:10###* *************************
The 1995 Berlin Conference did not include Africans: It was the European Economic Crisis African Union needs to remap and reconfigure as well integrate Africa based on the interests and prospects of a better future for all Africans. Africa never drew its maps, it is either the British: North to South French (East to West), Belgians Central Africa, and Germans and Portuguese, SE and SW Africa. Just imagine Egyptians sticking to the colonial treaties written by and for the British in the Colonial times in 1902, 1929 and 1959 when most of Africa except Ethiopia were under European Colonialism.
This is a battered enslaved nation, living in perpetual mental slavery! Ethiopia needs to liberate the Egyptian mind towards renaissance and the Grand Renaissance Dam is the tool for African Energy liberation and transformation into the 21st Century of ICT and SMN based communication. Dr BMJ10Mar2014@10:11:17:17@Washington, DCUSA###
vol. 6, issue 6 – march 2013 Who Owns the Nile? Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia’s History-Changing Dam by ANDREW CARLSON A rendering of the Grand Renaissance Dam under construction in Ethiopia on the Blue Nile. Its completion is expected to profoundly change the allocation of water resources in Africa. Editor’s Note: • Egypt and Sudan are utterly dependent on the waters of the Nile River.
Over the past century both of these desert countries have built several dams and reservoirs, hoping to limit the ravages of droughts and floods, which have so defined their histories.
• Now Ethiopia, one of eight upriver states and the source of most of the Nile waters, is building the largest dam in Africa. Located on the Blue Nile twenty-five miles from the Ethiopian border with Sudan, the Grand Renaissance Dam begins a new chapter in the long, bellicose history of debate on the ownership of the Nile waters, and its effects for the entire region could be profound.
• For more on the recent history of Africa, please see these articles on Politics in Senegal, the Darfur Conflict, Piracy in Somalia, Violence and Politics in Kenya, Women in Zimbabwe, and Sport in South Africa. • On water and environmental issues, readers may also want to see these Origins articles: World Water Crisis; The Changing Arctic; Climate Change and Human Population; Global Food Crisis; and Over-Fishing. 2012 The new threat from Egypt: Stratfor Report of an airstrip in Sudan to bomb the Renaissance dam
• In the fall of 2012 newspapers around the world reported on a Wikileaks document, surreptitiously acquired from Stratfor, the Texas security company, revealing Egyptian and Sudanese plans to build an airstrip for bombing a dam in the Blue Nile River Gorge in Ethiopia.
The Egyptian and Sudanese governments denied the reports. 1979 History of threats and threats in the Nile River Basin
• Whether or not there were such plans in 2012, there is a long history of threats and conflicts in the Nile River Basin. Downriver Egypt and Sudan argue that they have historic rights to the water upon which they absolutely depend—and in 1979 Egyptian President Anwar Sadat threatened war on violators of what he saw as his country’s rights to Nile waters. Upriver Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania argue that they too need the water that originates on their lands. 12th Century Ethiopian King threaten Egyptian Sultans
• Since the twelfth century C.E. Christian Ethiopian kings have warned Muslim Egyptian sultans of their power to divert waters of the Nile, often in response to religious conflicts. But these were hypothetical threats. Grand Renaissance Dam by 2015 (The Morsi, Haile Mariam and Bashir Connection)
• Today, however, Ethiopia is building the Grand Renaissance Dam and, with it, Ethiopia will physically control the Blue Nile Gorge—the primary source of most of the Nile waters.
• The stakes could not be higher for the new leaders in Egypt and Ethiopia, President Mohamed Morsi and Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn, as well as Sudan’s long-time President, Omar El Bashir. The stakes are perhaps even higher for the millions of people who owe their livelihood and very existence to the Nile’s waters. Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt and the Nile as the source of African/global civilization
• The Nile has been essential for civilization in Egypt and Sudan. Without that water, there would have been no food, no people, no state, and no monuments. 5th Century Before Christian Era
• As Herodotus famously wrote in the 5th century B.C.E., “Egypt is the gift of the Nile.” + “Ethiopia the mother of Egypt” The Nile Legacy so far and the future: Grand Renaissance Dam Sharing architecture, engineering, idea and traditions, religions, political organizations, languages, alphabets, foods and agricultural practices.
• For millennia peoples have travelled along the banks of the Nile and its tributaries. Scores of ethnic groups in Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan share architecture and engineering, ideas and traditions of religion and political organization, languages and alphabets, food and agricultural practices.
3000 BCE and 720 BCE: Unifying the upper and lower parts of the Nile and Now the Renaissance Dam 5000 years ago the Nile Unified the region and then 3000 years later and now at 2015 The GRD can do it again 720 BCE Shabaka and Nubian/Ethiopian Pharaoh In 3000 B.C.E., when the first Egyptian dynasty unified the lower and upper parts of the Nile River, there were no states in Eastern or Central Africa to challenge Egypt’s access to Nile waters.
The Nile as a mysterious God: Beneficent and vengeful: We need to manage the Nile Force
• The Nile was a mysterious god: sometimes beneficent, sometimes vengeful. Floods between June and September, the months of peak flow, could wipe out entire villages, drowning thousands of people. Floods also brought the brown silt that nourished the delta, one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, feeding not only Egypt but many of its neighbors. Songs to the Mighty Nile
• The river’s central importance to Egyptian life is captured in A Hymn to the Nile, recorded in Papyrus Sallier II: Ethiopia has 122 billion cubic meters of water and 77 Billion is from Blue Nile Hail to the Nile: The giver of life! • Hail to thee, O Nile,that issues from the earth and comes to keep Egypt alive! … He that waters the meadows which He created … He that makes to drink the desert … He who makes barley and brings emmer into being … He who brings grass into being for the cattle … He who makes every beloved tree to grow … O, Nile, verdant art thou, who makes man and cattle to live.
Seasonal Nile Flooding: 17 May-06 July and September
• The Nile’s seasonal flooding is a central theme in Egyptian history. The river flow follows regular patterns, increasing between May 17 and July 6, peaking in September, and then receding until the next year. But the river volume is very unpredictable, as documented by nilo-meters (multi-storied structures built in the river to measure water heights). Successive empires of Pharaohs, Greeks, Romans, Christian Copts, and Muslims celebrated the rising waters of the Nile and dreaded floods or droughts.
Five Millennia Nile History
• Five millennia of Nile history show how years with high water have produced ample food, population growth, and magnificent monuments, as during the first five dynasties from 3050 B.C.E. to 2480 B.C.E. Periods with low water have brought famine and disorder.
The Book of Genesis describes seven years of famine that historians associate with the drought of 1740 B.C.E. Nile irrigation and population growth • From the time of the Pharaohs until 1800 C.E., Egypt’s population rose and fell between 2 to 5 million, due to food availability and epidemics. The irrigation projects of the 19th century Ottoman ruler Mohammad Ali allowed year-around cultivation, causing population growth from 4 to 10 million. Since the opening of the Aswan High Dam in 1971, Egypt’s population has increased from about 30 to 83 million. The Sources of the Nile
• Despite the extraordinary importance of the Nile to people downstream, the origin of the great river was a mystery until the middle twentieth century. Herodotus speculated that the Nile arose between the peaks of Crophi and Mophi, south of the first cataract. In 140 C.E. Ptolemy suggested the source was the Mountains of the Moon, in what are now called the Ruwenzori Mountains in Uganda.
The Source of the Nile: Ethiopia (1770) and Lake Victoria (1862)
• The 11th century Arab geographer al-Bakri postulated West African origins, confusing the Niger River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean, with the Nile River.
In 1770 the Scottish explorer James Bruce claimed his discovery of the source in Ethiopia, while in 1862 John Hanning Speke thought he found it in Lake Victoria and the equatorial lakes.
The Blue Nile 4501 Feet descent in 560 miles
• The river’s limited navigability only increased its mystery. The Blue Nile River descends 4501 feet in 560 miles from Lake Tana in the Ethiopian highlands through a deep gorge with crocodiles, hippopotamuses, and bandits to the Sudan border and the savannah. Despite the efforts of scores of intrepid adventurers, the Blue Nile in Ethiopia was not successfully navigated until 1968 by a team of British and Ethiopian soldiers and civilians equipped by the Royal Military College of Science.
• Further south up the White Nile in the lakes and rivers of Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, the Egyptian cultural influence is less pronounced, due to the Sudd, a gigantic and impassable swamp that absorbs waters from the equatorial lake tributaries. The Nile River historian Robert O. Collins reports that “no one passed through this primordial bog” until 1841.
• Not until the 20th century did it become clear that the Nile is part of a vast river system with dozens of tributaries, streams, and lakes, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the remote mountains of Burundi, in tropical central Africa, and to the highlands of Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa. 86% Blue Nile; Volume and length: 4,200 miles 2% of Amazon, 15% of Mississippi Spanning more than 4,200 miles, it is the longest river in the world.
It has also become clear that the volume of water which flows through the Nile is relatively small—a mere two percent in volume of the Amazon’s and fifteen percent of the Mississippi—and mostly (86%) from Ethiopia. Ethiopia, Egypt, and the Historical Struggle for the Nile’s Waters
• Ethiopia and Egypt have had a long relationship of both harmony and discord, the latter the result of religious issues and access to Nile water, among other factors.
• Ethiopia’s first well documented government was in Aksum, a city-state that controlled a large empire from the Ethiopian highlands across the Red Sea to Yemen.
• From 100 until 800 C.E. Aksumites participated in Mediterranean and Indian Ocean trade.
• The cultural relationship between Egypt and Ethiopia was institutionalized when the Aksumite King Ezana converted to Christianity in 330 C.E. For 16 centuries (until 1959) the Egyptian bishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was appointed by the Egyptian patriarch in Alexandria, often under the influence of the Egyptian government. Ethiopians were profoundly influenced by the Middle East, even writing their state and geography into Bible stories.
The source of the Blue Nile became the Gihon, one of the four rivers that flowed from the Garden of Eden. The 14th century C.E. myth of national origins connected Ethiopia’s rulers to the Old Testament. In this legend the Queen of Sheba (Mekedda), journeyed north from Ethiopia to Jerusalem to meet King Solomon in 900 B.C.E. A romantic relationship produced a child, Menelik I, the first in Ethiopia’s Solomonic Dynasty.
When Menelik became an adult, despite his father’s wish that he become the next King of Israel, he escaped to Ethiopia with the Ark of the Covenant—the cabinet which contained the tablets of the ten commandments given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai.
The Ark of the Covenant and Menelik I Menelik stored the Ark on an island in Lake Tana—into which the Gihon flows—before it was moved to Aksum, where many Ethiopians believe the Ark remains to this day.
Another Ethiopian legend is that Mary and Jesus stayed a night on that same island (Tana Cherquos) during their flight from the Holy Land to Egypt. 640 CE Muslim conquest of Egypt The Muslim conquest of Egypt in 640 C.E. put Christian Ethiopia in a defensive position. Because the Ethiopian Orthodox Church remained subordinate to the Orthodox Church in Alexandria, and Egypt had become a Muslim country, Ethiopians became suspicious and resentful of the control Egypt had on the appointment of their Christian bishop (abun).
Muslim Egyptians also controlled Jerusalem and had the power to expel Ethiopian pilgrims to their holiest of cities. Crusades: Emp Lalibela built the New Jerusalem 1190-1225 • So Ethiopians began to claim power over Egypt through control of the Nile. During the Crusades the Ethiopian emperor Lalibela (1190-1225)—who built a new Jerusalem in Ethiopia, safe from Muslim occupation in magnificent, underground rock-hewn churches—threatened retribution by diverting the Tekeze River from its pathway north into Sudan (where it becomes the Atbara and then joins the Nile).
• The first Egyptian to write about the potential for an Ethiopian diversion of the Nile was the 13th century Coptic scholar Jurjis al-Makin (d. 1273).
• Stories about Ethiopia’s power over the Nile inspired the 14th century European legend of Prester John, a wealthy Christian Ethiopian priest king. In 1510 the legend returned to Ethiopia with Portuguese explorer Alfonso d’ Albuquerque, who considered the possibility of destroying Egypt by diverting the Nile to the Red Sea. In 1513 d’Albuquerque even asked the Portuguese king for workers skilled in digging tunnels. Nothing came of the plan.
1600 Ahmed Gragn : Adal Sultanate a proxy for Egypt But conflict between Egypt and Ethiopia continued, often as proxy wars between Christians and Muslims on Ethiopia’s northern or southeastern borderlands.
The sixteenth century invasion of Ethiopia by Ahmad Gragn, the Muslim imam from the Adal Sultante, was seen as an Egyptian conflict. The Gura Battle of 1876 (Ethio-Egyptian War) In the nineteenth century Egypt and Ethiopia fought over control of the Red Sea and upper Nile Basin.
The climax came in 1876 at the Battle of Gura in present day Eritrea where the Ethiopians delivered a humiliating defeat to the Egyptian army. Colonial-Era Conflicts over the Nile • The European partition of Africa in the 1880s added huge complexity to this conflict. 1896 Ethio-Italy war 1882-1922 Britain colonized Egypt: 42 years of colony Egypt was colonized by England in 1882 and became independent in 1922 (40 year British rule) Ethiopia defeated the Italians at the Battle of Adwa in 1896 becoming the only African country to retain its independence during the “scramble for Africa.” But colonization created many new states in the Nile Basin (Eritrea, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, and Tanganika) and set off new competition for resources and territory. Suez Canal of 1869 Egypt was prized for the Nile Delta, a region of unsurpassed agricultural productivity.
After the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt also offered access to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. For the British control of Egypt meant more profitable trade with India, its richest colony.
For the French, the canal offered quicker access to Indochina, its most lucrative colony. 1898 The French Fashoda Dam on White Nile Basin French-English competition In the late nineteenth century, since controlling Egypt was the key to Asian wealth, and since Egypt depended on the Nile, controlling the source of the Nile became a major colonial goal.
The French-English competition for control of the Nile Basin climaxed in 1898 at Fashoda. French: East-West Pincer Movement-and dam on the White Nile The French conceived of the idea of building a dam on the White Nile, so as to undermine British influence further downriver and establish east-west control of the continent.
They organized a stupendous pincer movement with one group of soldiers traveling from East Africa across Ethiopia and the other from West Africa across the Congo.
Agreement: Congo River Frontier to the French and England the White Nile Frontiers The British heard of the French expedition, and, having just captured Khartoum ordered a fleet of gun boats and steamers with soldiers under the leadership of General Horatio Herbert Kitchener upriver to Fashoda, the site of the proposed dam. With fewer than 200 men, the French were embarrassed.
In 1899 the two colonial powers reached an agreement, which designated to France the frontiers of the Congo River and to England, the frontiers of the White Nile. Poor understanding of the Contribution of the Blue Nile resulted no consultation of Ethiopia
• The Fashoda Incident revealed how little Europeans understood about the Nile River. Thinking that most of the Nile waters came from the equatorial lakes (Victoria, Albert, Kyoga, and Edward), the English spent enormous energy on plans to increase White Nile water flows.
• First called the Garstin Cut and later the Jonglei Canal, the British intended to create a channel that would maximize water transfer through the great swamp (where half of it evaporated).
• One of the most expensive engineering projects in Africa, it was terminated in 1984 by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, because of the severe disruption it brought to the lives of the indigenous upper Nile peoples.
If the 300 mile-long Jonglei Canal had been completed, it would have increased water flows by nearly 4 billion cubic meters into the White Nile. Negotiating the Nile: Treaties and Agreements over the Nile Waters • Treaty negotiations about Nile waters started during the colonial era as England tried to maximize agricultural productivity in the delta.
• In 1902 the British secured from the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II an agreement to consult with them on any Blue Nile water projects, especially on Lake Tana. As the controlling imperial power in East Africa, agreements with Kenya, Tanganika, Sudan, and Uganda were pro forma, internal colonial matters. • After achieving its independence in 1922, Egypt negotiated the Nile Waters Agreement of 1929 with the East African British colonies.
This accord established Egypt’s right to 48 billion cubic meters of water flow, all dry season waters, and veto-power over any upriver water management projects; newly independent Sudan (1956) was accorded rights to 4 billion cubic meters of water.
• The Ethiopian monarch was not consulted—at least in part because no one understood how much Nile water actually came from Ethiopia. The 1959 Nile Treaty and Ethiopia’s objection • The 1959 Nile Waters Agreement between Egypt and Sudan was completed before all the upriver states achieved independence: Tanganika (1961), Uganda (1962), Rwanda (1962), Burundi (1962), and Kenya (1963). 55.5 Billion for Egypt and 18.5 Billion for Sudan: 79 Billion=99% Annual Nile River Flow
• The signatories of the 1959 Agreement allocated Egypt 55.5 billion cubic meters of water annually while Sudan was allowed 18.5 billion cubic meters. These 79 billion cubic meters represented 99% of the calculated average annual river flow. Egypt: Nile 1971 Aswan, Sudan: Nile 1966 Roseires and Atbara, Sudan: 1964 Khashm al-Girba Dam
• The treaty also allowed for the construction of the Aswan High Dam (completed in 1971), the Roseires Dam (completed 1966 on the Blue Nile in Sudan), and the Khashm al-Girba Dam (completed in 1964 on the Atbara River in Sudan). The Nyrere Doctrine: Former Colonies had no obligation to treaties signed for them by Great Britain
• The treaty so negatively affected the upriver states that it provided the inspiration for the Nyerere Doctrine, named after independent Tanzania’s first president, which asserted that former colonies had no obligation to abide by treaties signed for them by Great Britain. 1
959 HIM: Divorce of Orthodox Church 1959 after 1600 years marriage • Emperor Haile Selassie was offended by President Nasser’s exclusion of Ethiopia in the Nile Waters Agreement and in planning for building the Aswan Dam.
He negotiated the 1959 divorce of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church from the Orthodox Church in Alexandria, ending 1600 years of institutional marriage. HIM plans Dams on Nile Tributaries: $10 Million Ethio-US study: Land and Water Resources of the Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia
• He also began planning for several dams on the Blue Nile and its tributaries, contributing $10 million dollars from the Ethiopian treasury towards a study by the U.S. Department of Reclamation resulting in a seventeen volume report completed in 1964 and titled Land and Water Resources of the Blue Nile Basin: Ethiopia. Nasser and the Jebha Movement in Eritrea and Ogaden Liberation Front
• Nasser responded by encouraging Muslims in Eritrea (reunified with Ethiopia after World War II) to secede from Ethiopia. He also encouraged Muslim Somalis to fight for the liberation of Ethiopia’s Ogaden region. Ethiopia won the Ogaden 1977-78 but lost Eritrea in 1993
• Ethiopia won the war with Somalia in 1977-78 and retained the Ogaden. Its 30 year war with Eritrea, an Egyptian ally, came at a tremendous cost. Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974, and after 1993 Eritrea won independence and Ethiopia became a landlocked country—although it still possessed the headwaters of the Blue Nile.
The 1980s drought on Ethiopia and Egypt • In the middle of the 1980s, rains failed in the Ethiopian highlands, causing a serious water crisis upriver and downriver. One million Ethiopians died as a result of drought and famine—made worse by Civil War with Eritrea. Egypt averted disaster but Aswan’s turbines were nearly shut down, creating an electric power nightmare; and crops failed in the delta, bringing the real prospect of famine. 1987:
Threat and confrontation language changed to conciliation and cooperation
• As a result, Egyptians came to understand that their great Aswan Dam had not solved their historic dependency on upriver Nile water. In 1987, after years of hostile rhetoric, the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the Ethiopian President Haile Mariam Mengistu replaced the language of threat and confrontation with words of conciliation and cooperation.
Rains return in 1990-The Toshka Canal irrigation projects • Then in the 1990s the Ethiopian rains returned and, remarkably, Hosni Mubarak redoubled efforts begun during the Sadat administration to build the Toshka Canal, one of the world’s most expensive and ambitious irrigation projects.
This plan would take 10% of waters in Lake Nasser to irrigate Egypt’s sandy Western Desert, increasing Egypt’s need for Nile water even if they maintained their 1959 treaty share of 55 billion cubic meters.
1990 MZA & GRD • In anger and disbelief, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi protested: “While Egypt is taking the Nile water to transform the Sahara Desert into something green, we in Ethiopia—who are the source of 85% of that water—are denied the possibility of using it to feed ourselves.” He then began plans for the Grand Renaissance Dam.
• International water law has not resolved differences about ownership of Nile Waters. The Helsinki Agreement of 1966 proposed the idea of “equitable shares”—and the idea was taken up again in the 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses. Equitable Shares the 1999 Nile Basin Initiative
• A proposal for “equitable shares” was again put forward in the 1999 Nile Basin Initiative, which included all the affected countries. Unfortunately the initiative did not resolve the conflict between Egypt and Sudan’s claims of historic rights and the upper river states’ claims for equitable shares. 2010 Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA)
• In 2010, six upstream countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania) signed a Cooperative Framework Agreement seeking more water shares. Egypt and Sudan rejected the agreement because it challenged their historic water rights. Ethiopia and the Lessons of Dam Building Hoover Dam on Colorado River; Ataturk Dam in Turkey; China and Tibet Rivers One lesson from the last century of mega-dam building is that upriver countries have the most power when negotiating water rights. The first of the mega-dams, the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River in the United States, cost Mexico water. The Ataturk Dam in Turkey has had a devastating impact on downriver Syria and Iraq. China and Tibet control waters on multiple rivers flowing downstream to India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Vietnam.
The Nile River Basin by Dr Bekele Seleshi Reivew on ETV on Mon 03 Mar 2014 Ecological Impact of Aswan Dam: Reduced agricultural productivity and fish stocks and seismic events Another lesson is that mega-dams have enormous and unanticipated environmental impacts.
The Aswan High Dam has disrupted the ecosystems of the river, the delta, and the Mediterranean with results of reduced agricultural productivity and fish stocks. It also caused a series of seismic events due to the extreme weight of the water in Lake Nasser, one of the world’s largest reservoirs. Although late to mega-dam building, Ethiopia is now making up for lost time. One of the tallest dams in the world was completed in 2009 on the Tekeze River in northern Ethiopia.
Three major dams on the Omo and Gibe Rivers in southern Ethiopia are either completed or nearly so. GRD: 67 Billion Cubic Meters = x2 Lake Tana Water= 6000 Megawatts Electricity The biggest of Ethiopia’s water projects, the Grand Renaissance Dam, will have a reservoir holding 67 billion cubic meters of water—twice the water held in Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest lake—and is expected to generate 6000 megawatts of electricity. Dams on Ethiopian River System upto 2035 to produce economic miracles Ethiopians hope these water projects—which extend to 2035 with other Nile tributaries and river systems—will lift their country out of poverty. Similar large dams have produced economic miracles in the United States, Canada, China, Turkey, India, Brazil, and, of course, Egypt.
Ethiopia with 90 Million most populous landlocked country Ethiopia’s options for economic development are limited. With nearly 90 million people it is the most populous landlocked country in the world. It is also one of the world’s poorest countries—174 on the list of 187 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index for 2012. (Sudan is 169 and Egypt 113.) HDI:
This index rates countries based on life expectancy, education, and income, among other criteria. Ethiopia: >85% workforce is farmers, and no funds for development Part of Ethiopia’s challenge is that 85 percent of the workforce is in agricultural commodities that bring low profits. Ethiopia is already leasing land in its southern regions to Saudi Arabia, India, and China for large irrigated water projects—despite severe land shortage in its northern regions—because it does not have the funds to develop this land on its own. If Ethiopia cannot use its elevation and seasonal rains for hydro-electric power and irrigation, what is it to do?
The Grand Renaissance Dam The state-owned Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation optimistically reports that the Grand Renaissance Dam will be completed in 2015 at a cost of nearly 5 billion dollars. As of 2013, the project is 13% complete, suggesting that it may be many years and billions of dollars before the dam is finished. The Tekeze dam was well over its predicted budget and years behind schedule.
The major obstacle to completion is financing. WB, EIB, CIEB, ADB The World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Chinese Import-Export Bank, and the African Development Bank provided financing for some of the other dams; but concerns about the environmental and political impact of this latest dam have discouraged lenders. IMF : GRD absorbs 10% Eth GDOP The International Monetary Fund suggested that Ethiopia put the dam on a slow track, arguing that the project will absorb 10% of Ethiopia’s Gross Domestic Product, thus displacing other necessary infrastructure development. Nevertheless the Ethiopian government insists that it will stick with its schedule and finance the project domestically. It probably will secure more help from China, a loyal ally and the world’s major developer of hydroelectric power. GRD is good for every one:
• reduce evaporation/flooding/siltation, • increase water flow and hydropower, • food control • extending the life of Sudanese an Egyptian dams The Ethiopians argue that the Grand Renaissance Dam could be good for everyone. They contend that storing water in the deep Blue Nile Gorge would reduce evaporation, increasing water flows downstream.
The Ethiopians also argue that the new dam will be a source of hydroelectric power for the entire region and will manage flood control at a critical juncture where the Nile Gorge descends from the Ethiopian highlands to the Sahel, thus reducing risk of flooding and siltation, extending the life of the dams below stream. GRD filling up for 3 years reducing 25% river flow.
Egypt and Sudan are understandably concerned about Ethiopia’s power over Nile waters. What happens while the reservoir behind the Grand Renaissance Dam is filling up, when water flow may be reduced 25 % for three years or more? After the reservoir is filled what will happen when rains fail in the Ethiopian highlands? Who will get the water first? Population Projection 1900: 10 Million pop each for Eg+Eth; 2034: 100 M each and collectively 600 million If the question of Nile waters was sensitive in the centuries before 1900, when Ethiopia and Egypt each had populations of 10 million or less, what will happen over the next twenty years, as their populations each surpass 100 million and the collective population of the Nile River Basin countries reaches 600 million?
The Grand Renaissance Dam poses a question as basic as water itself: Who owns the Nile? When the Grand Renaissance Dam closes its gates on the Blue Nile River, whether it is in 2015 or 2025, the time for a final reckoning will have arrived. Ethiopia will then have the power to claim its water shares, with the backing of all the upriver states. Egypt and Sudan’s claims to historic water rights will have become merely hypothetical. In the context of a difficult history, violence is a possibility, but good solutions for all can be achieved through diplomacy and leadership. Suggested Reading
- Collins, Robert O. The Nile. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002.
Erlich, Haggai. The Cross and the River: Ethiopia, Egypt, and the Nile. Boulder and London: Lynn Rienner Publishers, 2002.
Henze, Paul B. Layers of Time: A History of Ethiopia. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000.
Solomon, Steven. Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization. New York: HarperCollins, 2010. 5. Tignor, Robert L. Egypt: A Short History. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2010. • _________________________
WikiLeaks, and the Past and Present of American Foreign Relations by RYAN IRWIN A projection of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange looms over author Micah Sifry (left) and activist Daniel Ellsberg during a video conference in June 2010.
Ellsberg’s release of a classified report on the Vietnam War caused a storm of controversy forty years ago and shows that leaks of government information are not unusual in U.S. history.
The WikiLeaks saga speaks to both continuity and change in the way that the United States carries out its foreign policy. (Flickr/JD Lasicahttp://bit.ly/ldm88t) Editor’s Note: On a fundraising trip to California in April, President Obama was confronted by protesters demanding better treatment for Pfc Bradley Manning, who has been at the center of the WikiLeaks controversy. Private Manning has been imprisoned for passing on tens of thousands of military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, in one of the greatest breaches of state secrecy in the history of the United States.
This month, historian Ryan Irwin looks at the WikiLeaks tempest and what it tells us about America’s role in the world. Readers interested in American relations around the world, should read these recent Origins articles onIran and America, The United States and Haiti, U.S. Counterinsurgency Doctrine, and Coalition Warfare. ________________________________________
On April 5, 2008, a small coterie of Republican senators and diplomats— John Barrasso, Saxby Chambliss, Mitch McConnell, and James Risch, among others—held a quiet meeting with then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the Heliopolis Palace in Cairo.
The setting was regal. Designed in the early twentieth century by a Belgian architect, the one-time luxury hotel had been remade as Mubarak’s home and workplace in the 1980s.
Blending Arabic, European, and Persian architectural styles, the complex embodied purposefully Egypt’s place at the crossroads of the pan-Islamic and pan-European worlds. The conversation slid naturally to current events as the group settled down to talk.
After a brief back-and-forth about Israel, Mubarak turned to Iraq. “My dear friends,” he began, “democracy in Iraq equals killing. The nature of those people is completely different. They are tough and bloody, and they need a very tough leader. They will not be submissive to a democratic leader.” Stability required an authoritarian fist. “As I told Secretary of Defense Gates last year,” Mubarak continued, “the only solution [to America’s desire to leave Iraq] is to strengthen the military and security forces, arm and train them, wait for the emergence of some generals, don’t oppose them, then stay in your camps in the desert and don’t interfere.
The military will control Iraq like the ayatollahs control Iran.” Twenty-eight years in power, and Mubarak’s worldview amounted to a simple adage: never “mix democracy and tribalism.” The transcript drips with irony when read from the present. It was sent to the Department of State by U.S. Ambassador Margaret Scobey on April 8, 2008.
It allegedly comes to us via Private First Class Bradley Manning, who sits now in a U.S. military prison, awaiting trial for passing along 251,287 such cables—only 2,000 of which are available online currently—to the media organization known as WikiLeaks. Manning’s fate and the imbroglio surrounding Julian Assange, the controversial figure who shared the cables with the world, has faded somewhat from the headlines in recent months.
Yet the WikiLeaks communiqués reveal much about America’s role in today’s world. In the words of author Timothy Garton Ash, the documents are a “historian’s dream” and a “diplomat’s nightmare”—a spigot of information from the contact points of American power, where powerbrokers and diplomats go daily through the motions of statecraft. Leaks, Yesterday and Today In the United States, politicians have hyperventilated over the WikiLeaks story since it broke in 2010.
Despite the fact that most foreign leaders quickly dismissed the material as blasé, American leaders have framed Assange and Manning as unambiguous enemies of the international community. Internal dissent—voiced notably by (now former) State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, who criticized the U.S. government’s imprisonment of Manning—has been cast as inexcusable and irresponsible. But the American ship-of-state has long been a leaky boat. George Washington reprimanded Alexander Hamilton for passing material to the British during the 1794 Jay Treaty negotiations, and James Madison castigated his secretary of state for giving administration secrets to members of the opposing Federalist Party.
There has been no shortage of leak-related precedents since then. In 1848, as the United States’ war with Mexico drew to a close, Senate investigators placed a journalist under house arrest for the first time because he refused to disclose how he obtained details about the not-yet-complete peace treaty.
At the height of the First World War, lawmakers considered making it illegal to leak state information to the public, but changed their minds because of first amendment concerns, opting instead for legislation that criminalized the act of relaying defense secrets to the enemy during wartime. The most notorious leak in U.S. history came in the early 1970s, when Daniel Ellsberg—a Princeton-educated analyst who worked for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara during the 1960s—delivered a 7,000-page Pentagon report to The New York Times, and later The Washington Post. Unprecedented in scope, the collection of top-secret materials revealed that Lyndon Johnson’s White House had lied systematically to the public about the rationale behind America’s involvement in Vietnam. Richard Nixon tried to use an injunction to stop the material’s publication in 1971, setting another historical precedent in the process, but failed at the Supreme Court.
The ethics of leaking have never been straightforward. Nixon’s own contradictions were on full display as he and his advisors formulated their response to Ellsberg: Nixon: “Let’s get the son of a bitch into jail.” Henry Kissinger: “We’ve got to get him.” Nixon: “We’ve got to get him … Don’t worry about his trial. Just get everything out. Try him in the press … Everything … that there is on the investigation, get it out, leak it out.” Such conviction, of course, facilitated Nixon’s undoing, but the implications were clear and the sentiment was probably felt widely among American elites: leaking was bad when it violated the interests of power.Or, as columnist David Corn said once, there are leaks “that serve the truth, and those that serve the leaker.”
The second Bush administration blurred this line frequently. White House staff members gave the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame to columnist Robert Novak after her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized the rationale for the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Bush himself passed along (selectively chosen) top-secret documents to reporter Bob Woodward for the 2002 book, Bush at War. Wheat from the Chaff Each of these leaks tells a different historical story. The Plame affair underscored the politicization of information in our fractured age, when partisans compete with cynical glee to mold Washington’s weekly narrative. Ellsberg’s papers exposed the contradictions of an earlier epoch, highlighting the tenuous underpinnings of the global Cold War, particularly in Southeast Asia.
Controversies from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—sharpened often by war and codified through law—offer windows into the rise of the modern state, and highlight how the U.S. government came to police its inner correspondence.
And the experiences of the founding fathers hint at an era now long past, when leaders navigated questions of secrecy with little consideration of bureaucratic power. So given this long leaky history, what makes the WikiLeaks material so interesting? Size matters—there is a lot of information in the 251,287 cables—but the documents differ from previous leaks. For one, they draw on different source material.
Unlike Ellsberg, Manning did not have access to top-secret reports. Most of the information he downloaded from his desk at a military base in Iraq never reached the Oval Office. It is likely that few of his cables even made their way to the seventh floor of the U.S. State Department, where America’s top statesmen manage the daily business of U.S. foreign relations.
Moreover, the documents do not lend themselves to a Plame or Ellsberg-like controversy. There are embarrassing tidbits here and there—gossipy assessments of foreign leaders—and heart-wrenching details from the battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq. But Washington’s foreign officers come across mostly as professionals.
As commentator Fareed Zakaria opined, “Washington’s secret diplomacy is actually remarkably consistent with its public diplomacy” this time around, unlike during the Vietnam War, U.S. diplomats are undeniably “sharp, well informed, and lucid.” What emerges from the WikiLeaks material is a story that features not the great men and women of Washington but the mid-level officials who work in U.S. outposts around the world.
These are the individuals who conduct American diplomacy on the ground. Their correspondence is dominated by neither turf battles nor policy debates, but rather a continual effort to collect accurate information, analyze trends, and advance U.S. interests in the world. Looking through the eyes of such individuals reveals much about U.S. foreign relations, especially in the American hinterland—that zone of exchange at the outskirts of Washington’s political influence.
The WikiLeaks documents showcase the common priorities of the officials who enact American policy in this region, and they tell scholars something about the challenges of U.S. foreign affairs in the early twenty-first century. Things have changed certainly since the end of the Cold War, but they haven’t changed as much as one might suspect. Small States, Big Allies Washington’s global influence today is deeply contested.
To a degree that might surprise both boosters and detractors of America’s foreign policy, negotiation is the motif of the WikiLeaks documents. Whether dealing with special friends or political afterthoughts, U.S. diplomats rarely dictate the terms of international exchange.
They are caught instead in a continual two-way conversation that often obfuscates the asymmetrical nature of Washington’s military and economic resources. The examples are almost endless. Take Yemen: residing at the outskirts of the Arab world with a harsh climate and a small population, there is little reason the country should possess any leverage over the U.S. policymaking establishment. Unlike Saudi Arabia, it possesses few oil reserves or regional clout—only the strategic port city of Aden, which provides access to the waters between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Readers may also be interested in the following Book Reviews:
• Long Live the Soviet Motherland? •
The Crime That Dare Not Speak Its Name •
Bringing Evil to Justice • Patriot or Pragmatist?
• The End of the War as They Knew It • Guantanamo For Beginners • Blind Oracles: Intellectuals and War from Kennan to Kissinger Islamic Imperialism:
A History • Review ____________________________________ Review: Islamic Imperialism:
A History (December Review, 2006) by Efraim Karsh (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2006) Review by Leif Torkelsen Many scholars tend to see the West acting upon indigenous people in other parts of the world, without paying much attention to the agency of those people themselves. Efraim Karsh attempts to counter-act this trend with this book.
It is a serious attempt to understand Middle Eastern geopolitics from the perspective of the inhabitants, through an analysis of the role of Islam within the region’s political culture. The author’s thesis is that an appreciation of the millenarian imperatives of Islam is essential to understand the geopolitical dynamic of the region, as well as the region’s relationship with the larger world. The result is a compelling, albeit incomplete, portrait of politics in a region of long-standing strategic importance. Of the major world religions, three have been distinguished by ambitious proselytizing: Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.
All of these religions also periodically augmented their missionary agenda with military conquest and the rise of Islam is intimately connected with military and spiritual conquest. Mohammed himself served as a religious, political and military leader.
This experience, Karsh argues, served to distinguish Islam from all other major religions in its imperialistic attitudes, as only Islam has its genesis in armed conflict. With the conquest of Arabia, the armies of Islam swept forth and established the vast, but short-lived, Umayyad caliphate. For Karsh, the establishment of the new caliphate was an unabashedly imperialist venture, “in which Islam provided a moral sanction and a unifying battle cry rather than a driving force.” (22) Karsh argues that the Umayyads’ policy of religious toleration originated from selfish motives, as their empire was run strictly for the benefit of the Arab conquerors who were more interested in tribute than spreading the new faith. Even subject peoples who converted to Islam were relegated to the status of second-class citizens, known as Mawali.
So jealously guarded were the privileges of the new Arab elite, and so at odds with the egalitarian aspects of Islamic theology, that they eventually provoked a violent reaction from the Mawali, who overthrew the Umayyad caliphate and replaced it with the Abbasids.
However, this victory unleashed centrifugal forces that were to rend the political landscape of the Middle East until the rise of the Ottoman Turks. In the book, Karsh identifies a handful of archetypal Islamic leaders. These archetypal leaders are distinguished by their conscious and skillful manipulation of Islamic political culture.
This political culture is schizophrenic in nature, characterized by a dichotomous blend of pan-Islamic unity and acute regional identities. Traversing the two concepts remains the high wire act of Middle Eastern politics. In this context, the modern nation-state functions as a dilapidated halfway house between the two antipodes of Islamic political culture. The language of Islamic expansionism subsequently provided the rationale for the last of the great Islamic empire-builders, the Ottomans.
By the early 16th century, they had unified much of the Islamic world and had acquired the title of caliph. However, they ultimately succumbed to the intrinsic centrifugal forces of the region, becoming the “Sick Man of Europe” by the 19th century. However, Karsh argues vehemently against portraying the declining Ottoman Empire as a victim. Instead, he describes a clever and aggressive policy by the sultans to manipulate the Western powers to Ottoman advantage.
The fall of the Ottoman Empire restored the Arabs to political dominance in the Middle East. While much has been made of the “betrayal” of the Arabs at Versailles, the full extent of their territorial demands was extreme. However, it is in this context, Karsh argues, that one must understand the Arab rejection of the Jewish right to statehood.
The competing territorial claims of the Zionists were being recognized by the Western powers just as the pan-Arabist claims were being rejected. Zionism was, in effect, a direct challenge to the Arabs’ territorial ambitions. Accordingly, the rejection of the Jewish state on principle has consistently been of greater concern to Arab governments than the actual welfare of the Palestinian Arabs. For Karsh, the archetypal modern Arab leader was Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Nasser skillfully blended the competing demands of Egyptian nationalism and pan-Arabism. Egypt was portrayed as the savior of the Arab world, while other Arab countries were castigated as artificial “imperialist stooges” of the West.
He attempted to supplant the religious aspect of regional political culture with its secular twin, socialism. The formation of the United Arab Republic in 1958, a nominal political union between Egypt and Syria, was Nasser’s high-water mark.
There are three significant events in recent Middle Eastern history, according to Karsh, which represent the dawn of a new era in pan-Islamicism. The first was the triumph of radical Islam in Iran in 1979. The second was the demise of pan-Arab secularism with the defeat of Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Gulf War. The third event was the failure of the Oslo peace accords. For Karsh, the Oslo agreement is perhaps most symbolic of the relationship between the West and the Islamic world.
Arafat’s speeches before, during and after the peace made it abundantly clear that he had no intention of honoring any peace with Israel. However, Western leaders chose to ignore this, preferring to cling to their own idealized vision of diplomacy.
For the West, the Palestinian issue is a “root cause” of the Middle East’s problems, whereas it is merely one symptom of the larger struggle between Islam and non-believers to most Arab observers. In a certain sense, Karsh’s thesis presents very little that is new. Nonetheless, that should not distract from the elegant simplicity and clarity of Karsh’s argument.
The problem with Karsh’s book is that its evidentiary base is simply too narrow to sustain his thesis. Karsh overwhelmingly relies on diplomatic history to make its case without presenting a more thorough investigation of Islamic theology, its “honor culture,” or an explanation of the failure of secular thought in the Islamic world.
Karsh’s book is timely, and it represents a valuable addition to our understanding of the Islamic world. It provides a succinct model of Islamic political culture in its geopolitical context. Most importantly, however, the book restores agency to the peoples of the Middle East.
Contrary to popular belief, non-Western peoples are not simply an inert mass, responding only to external pressures from the rapacious West. Instead, they are active participants in forging their own political destinies. In this vein, Karsh persuasively argues that the see-saw of Middle Eastern politics has tilted decisively towards a very aggressive pan-Islamicism. Islamic Imperialism: A History by Efraim Karsh (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2006) Reviewed by Leif Torkelsen You may also be interested in these articles: Syria’s Islamic Movement and the 2011-12 Uprising, A Century of U.S. Relations with Iraq, Frenemies: Iran and America since 1900, From Gaza to Jerusalem: Is the Two State Solution under Siege?,
From Baghdad to Kabul:
The Historical Roots of U.S. Counterinsurgency Doctrine, The Long, Long Struggle for Women’s Rights in Afghanistan, Pirates of Puntland, Somalia, What’s in a Name?: The Meaning of ‘Muslim Fundamentalist’, Tradition vs Charisma: The Sunni-Shi’i Divide in the Muslim World To discuss and comment on this review, please visit our Facebook page.