The Ethiopian Dam: Is the War on the Doors after the Start of the Second Filling Process?

Many options were discussed by Egypt and Sudan in a response to Ethiopia’s decision to start the second filling of the Ennahda dam without reaching an agreement with the two downstream states.

While some commentators discussed the possibility of Egypt launching a military strike on the dam, others blamed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for his solo signing the declaration of Principles agreement with Ethiopia.

Egypt is stepping up its diplomatic efforts ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday 8 July to discuss the implications of the Ethiopian resolution for Egypt and Sudan.

Difficult decisions

Ethiopia’s management of the crisis means dragging Egypt into a war it does not want

What is clear, unfortunately, is that we are closer to war because of the Ethiopian position than ever before, especially after the Ethiopian Ministry of irrigation notified its Egyptian counterpart of Ethiopia’s second filling of the dam, which means pushing Egypt and Sudan to make difficult decisions.

Who’s in charge?

In contrast, some Arab commentators held Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi responsible for reaching this stage of the recent Ethiopian decision.

While Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was preoccupied with military exercises on the Egyptian-Libyan border and the designation of Sirte and Jufra as a red line, the Ethiopian leadership was continuing to complete the construction of the dam and build a series of military fortifications around it in

However, the political failure of the two countries (Egypt and Sudan) does not cancel the rights of the citizens of Egypt and Sudan to the waters of the Nile or justify the arrogance of Ethiopia.

Is there a role for Israel in the dam crisis between Egypt and Ethiopia?

Arab and Egyptian newspapers discussed the statements of some writers and parliamentarians in Egypt about Israel’s role in the Renaissance Dam crisis.

The Renaissance Dam crisis is a political crisis aimed at delivering the Nile River water to the Hebrew state.

Deputy of Parliament Daoud also pointed out that Israel is using Ethiopia to pressure Egypt down to Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Mustafa al-Feki, a former Egyptian diplomat and head of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, also stated that Israel has an influence on the Ennahda dam file because it dreams of becoming one of the countries of the Nile River estuary since the time of the late President Mohamed Anwar Sadat.

A number of writers supported statements suggesting that Ethiopia was complicit in achieving Israel’s goals.

UN Security Council responds to Egypt and Ethiopia regarding the Renaissance Dam

Egypt has called on the Security Council to consider the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis immediately and urgently, as this crisis could pose a threat to international peace.

Ethiopia plans to implement the second phase of filling its reservoir this summer without agreement with Sudan and Egypt.

For its part, Ethiopia responded to Egypt’s request saying that

“Ethiopia has the right to fill the Renaissance Dam is in line with the principles of rational use of Nile water and the declaration of Principles signed by the presidents of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt in 2015”.

The president of the Security Council, Nicolas de Rivière, said that the council does not have much to do in the crisis of the Renaissance Dam between Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia.

We only have to bring the parties together to voice their concerns, and then encourage them to return to negotiations to reach a solution,” said De rafiere, president of the council.

What are the scenarios Egypt considering of to solve the crisis?

The military option

military cooperation is happening with a number of African states surrounding Ethiopia, in recent months. That indicates that there is a military movement going against the dam being prepared.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi recently visited Djibouti, the first Egyptian president to do so.

Djibouti is the fifth country neighboring Ethiopia-after Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, and Kenya, with which Egypt has strengthened its military cooperation in the past three months.

Egypt conducted several joint military exercises with Sudan, the most recent of which was called protectors of the Nile at the end of May.

Does that pave the way for an upcoming military move?!

Withdrawal from the declaration of principles

Egypt has the option of withdrawing or threatening to withdraw from the declaration of Principles agreement on the Ennahda dam, signed between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia in Khartoum in March 2015.

This could be an important step to delegitimize the dam. It won’t be enough on its own, but it may affect other measures.

Continuing negotiations

Egypt and Sudan will likely continue on the path of negotiations.

According to the Ethiopian announcement to reduce the height of the middle passage of the dam body to 573 meters. This will only store about 4 billion m3 of water during the flood season, instead of 13.5 billion

These 4 Billion may be brought by flooding without affecting Egypt’s share, and Lake Nasser behind the High Dam is full of water, so the second filling phase of the Nahda dam is likely not to harm Egypt’s share of water.