Egypt considers itself an aspiring hegemon that expects to wield transregional influence over North Africa, East Africa, and the Levant. It feels challenged by Ethiopia’s peaceful rise as a developmentally driven and fiercely sovereign Great Power due to the zero-sum influence exerted upon its decisionmakers by their American ally.
Ethiopia planned third filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) prompted Egypt to complain to the UNSC. Cairo’s official position is that the megaproject will supposedly deprive its downstream people of the Nile’s water upon which they depend, while Addis Ababa insists that this scenario is unrealistic, that it has no such intentions to “weaponize water”, and that everything that it’s done is fully in line with international law. Objectively speaking, Egypt’s concerns are unsubstantiated and appear driven by the desire to mask its meddling in Ethiopia’s domestic affairs.
To explain, Egypt considers itself an aspiring hegemon that expects to wield transregional influence over North Africa, East Africa, and the Levant. It feels challenged by Ethiopia’s peaceful rise as a developmentally driven and fiercely sovereign Great Power due to the zero-sum influence exerted upon its decisionmakers by their American ally. Instead of supporting all African countries’ comprehensive improvement of their domestic situations through economic means, Egypt prefers to hold those like Ethiopia down so that it can dominate them and subsequently exploit their resources.
On the one hand, Egypt claims that it’s an African country, while on the other hand it rejects the formula of “African solutions for African problems” by involving the Arab League, the UN, and the US in its artificially manufactured dispute with Ethiopia. Cairo’s plot is to have them put pressure on Addis under the pretext of GERD in order to assist its efforts in eroding that target state’s sovereignty for the purpose of eventually exploiting its resources. This modus operandi complements its employment of Sudan and the TPLF as proxies, both of which have thus far failed in their divide-and-rule missions.
Short of a direct military strike against GERD, which would plunge the larger region into an unprecedented war and therefore isn’t in Egypt’s objective interests, there really isn’t anything that Cairo can do to stop Ethiopia from continuing to fill its dam. All people have the right to renewable energy, especially those who haven’t been able to reliably enjoy any form of energy up until this point like so many in Ethiopia. GERD is therefore a humanitarian megaproject that aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, with only Egypt claiming that it’s part of a regional conspiracy.
The only such conspiracy that objectively exists is that which Egypt and its Western partners have hatched against Ethiopia through their TPLF-driven Hybrid War of Terror as punishment for its principled neutrality in the New Cold War as well as the complementary pressure that they’re exerting upon it on the false pretext of GERD. Neither national unity nor humanitarian megaprojects should ever be politicized, yet that’s exactly what Egypt and others have attempted to do as part of their hegemonic plot to sabotage Ethiopia’s peaceful rise as a multipolar Great Power.
Seeing as how it’s unlikely that Egypt will stop its Hybrid War against Ethiopia, both with respect to its employment of regional proxies as well as its exploitation of the artificially manufactured scandal over GERD, the only suitable recourse is for activists to continue exposing Cairo’s true motivations. It needs to be called out for meddling in a nearby country and politicizing that which should never have been politicized in the first place. While this method might not influence its foreign policy, it’ll at the very least stand the chance of eroding its soft power and getting others to realize that it’s an irresponsible actor.