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Nile Politics: Eritrea, Sudan Ethiopia, Egypt

On  November 28, 2016, Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerki traveled to Egypt for a three-day visit and met Egypt’s president, Abdulfatah AlSisi. The official news outlets of the two countries didn’t disclose much about the visit except the usual boilerplate statement, ‘they held talks to boost bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries.”

However, several Egyptian news outlets opined about the nature of the Ethiopian-Egyptian relations in connection with Isaias’ visit. For four years, Egyptian papers have been writing extensively about the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) presenting it as a factor over which Egypt and Ethiopia might go to war. The newspapers also stated that Egypt was using Eritrea to pressures Ethiopia. There are also a few Egyptian politicians who believe the current consultations between Egypt and Eritrea cannot be seen in isolation from the tension between Cairo and Addis Ababa over GERD that, “Ethiopia insists on [completing] and Egypt opposes because it decreases its share of the Nile water in the coming years.”

In June 3, 2013, the deposed Egyptian president, Mohammed Mursi, convened a meeting with Egyptian dignitaries to discuss Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam and what Egypt’s response should be. The meeting was televised live, but apparently, some of those attending the meeting did not appear to be aware of it. That is when a prominent politician stated:

“we do not want an embassy in Ethiopia, we need a task force in Ethiopia…political, intelligence, to deal in all aspects with the Ethiopian reality, we must have a role in it. …there must be an interference in national affairs… If we don’t achieve a result with change, we can with pressure…. the third team is military…”

There was even an explicit suggestion to use Eritrea, Djibouti, and the Oromos, to destabilize Ethiopia to hamper the construction of GERD.

A large section of the Egyptians, particularly the political elite, consider the Nile their God given private river, like some Ethiopian political elite obsessed with the Eritrean shores. And if you add to that the mix of the adventurous regime in Eritrea, minor problem can brew to a full-fledged confrontation. And some reckless Egyptian quarters would not mind using Eritrea as a pawn and agitate for a confrontation between Ethiopia and Eritrea citing the border war between the two countries.

Though sporadic skirmishes continue to this day, the war ended in 2000. Since then, Eritrea and Ethiopia continue to be in a no-war-no-peace situation, and some Egyptian politicians wish to reignite the war, even if what they foresee is a slim chance it would hinder the completion of GERD. If that doesn’t materialize, they seem to have an ambitious backup plan where the Egyptian air-force would destroy GERD, or Egypt could launch long distance missiles to wreck the dam. That sounds far-fetched and they must know it. However, they know that such fantastic scenarios keep the public busy and advances their partisan aspiration, whether they support AlSisi or wish to depose him.

As reported in the media, Masoum Merzouq, a veteran Egyptian diplomat has warned against careless use of the Eritrean pressure card to prevent damaging repercussions. That is because Ethiopia has already accused Egypt of sponsoring Ethiopian groups involved in the recent unrest that engulfed the country. The veteran diplomat also warned against “being carried away by naive diplomacy”.

Throughout the period of the recent unrest in Ethiopia, Egyptian news media covered the sensational Ethiopian unrest with great zeal, regularly hosting Ethiopian dissidents. Last October the Ethiopian government protested to the Egyptian Ambassador in Addis-Ababa, Abubaker Hefni, and then openly accused Egypt of fomenting the unrest in the country. The accusation created a diplomatic frenzy in Egypt, where the politicians moved to contain the situation that could have escalated and damaged the already delicate Ethio-Egyptian relations. A few days later, the Egyptian media received government signals to stop hosting Ethiopian opposition elements not to anger Ethiopia. Last March, Abdulfattah AlSisi had visited Ethiopia to sign an agreement together with Sudan’s Omar AlBashir, and Ethiopia’s Hailemariam Desalegn on issues concerning GERD.

Where does Eritrea fit?

Eritrea is considered a Nile riparian country though it contributes only around .01% of the water that flows to Egypt. And its interest and role in the hydropolitics of the region is insignificant or negligible; the Egyptian-Ethiopian wrangling over the Nile shouldn’t concern her much. But if Isaias is peddling his services, whatever they are, however insignificant, there is a chance there are some buyers.

In his recent visit to Egypt, Isaias was received at the airport in Cairo by the president of the council of ministers and by the minister of irrigation. The presence of the irrigation minister is significant since Egypt’s irrigation is synonymous to the Nile. If the visit was expected to be provocative, it achieved more than that. The fact that of all the ministers Egypt would send the irrigation minister to receive Isaias is possibly a calculated gesture given the current frustrated Egyptian agitation against the GERD. The visit must have appeared as a threat to Ethiopia even if it was not intended to be so.

That incident would implicate Eritrea as a suspect simply because the policy of Isaias Afwerki and his government has always been focused on finding a way to entangle Eritrea in conflicts that has no dividend for the Eritrean people.

For years, the Eritrean regime has been helplessly cajoling one side or the other to immerse itself in the Yemeni crisis. Finally, with a mediation by Sudan’s AlBashir, who plunged into the Yemeni fray earlier, Isaias attempted to be part of the Saudi led alliance in Yemen in a very humiliating manner and failed. Yet, he never gave up, but continued to cajole the UAE at the expense of Qatar, his only loyal friend in the region.

In one of his visits to Qatar, Isaias Afwerki had openly complained to the Qataris that the rest of the Gulf States were punishing him for his close relations with Qatar, and that they should compensate him. Though the inter-Arab alliance itself is anything but stable and often may offer space for squeezing oneself in, Isaias doesn’t have the clout to make his role significant in such an alliance. His recent visit to Saudi Arabia–given his erratic diplomatic relations–seems to have helped him realize the league that he tried to join is beyond his stature, thus, he decided to pursue the role of a second fiddle to Egypt.

After the overthrow of Mursi, and the weakening of the Muslim brotherhood, Egyptian diplomacy has made bold changes, making drastic shift of directions in its regional and international policies. Abdulfattah AlSisi is cognizant of the cost of that shift and what it entails: Egypt risks losing billions of dollars in Saudi aid. But the Egyptian popular sentiment is centered around the Nile, around which the rallying cry of partisan politicians is entered. And though AlSisi handled the Nile case with Ethiopia more rationally, his opposition never stopped agitating the common Egyptian by using scare tactics stating that Ethiopian will decrease Egypt’s share of the Nile water, “which will make Egyptians go thirsty.”

Ethiopia seems to believe that Isaias found a diminutive role in the region’s hydropolitics, and he is poised to help Egypt in its emotional conflict with Ethiopia. However, neither advancing Egyptian greed, nor cheering Ethiopian paranoia, serves Eritreans. That situation only helps Isaias Afwerki who lives in a self-created isolation which has damaged the reputation of the country. The Ethiopians are also not helping the situation by refusing to cease sovereign Eritrean territories either; knowingly or unknowingly, they are making the situation suitable for Isaias’ haphazard and confrontational politics. A master of the art of conflict peddling, Isaias must find his place either in the Egyptian-Ethiopian discord, or in the Saudi led adventure in Yemen. And if that requires sacrificial lambs, he has at his disposal hundredth of thousands of conscripts whom he can call to arms in a short notice. He has done it before, plunging Eritrean forces in many adventurous battles, and he can do it for the umpteenth time.

Eritreans have grieved over their fate for too long. Their pristine country and energetic people could have attained so much in the last twenty-five years since they liberated their country with untold sacrifices. Isaias Afwerki has killed the Eritrean resourcefulness and entrepreneurship, and is holding their dreams hostage. He has gambled too much with the people’s dedication and commitment to develop their country. He has caused their dream and aspiration for a prosperous and peaceful country to vanish. And now, he is focusing on massaging his ego, and runs here and there to collect alms for his dirty roles. How does he not know that Eritreans, if not for his rule and his tyranny, would have achieved that long ago. However, a tyrant who doesn’t mind denying Eritrea the benefits that it could have reaped from its 600 miles long Red Sea shores, and after rendering Assab and Massawa that were poised to become bustling ports into ghost towns, in addition to causing the exile of hundreds of thousands of youth to the four-corners of the world, he still salivates to inflict more wounds on the Eritrean people.

Related reading:
Cry Me A River (Nile): Egyptians Embrace Their Inner-African` (June 14, 2013)
Eritrea: Chiefs and Ambassadors (march 20, 2016)

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  • Yared Seyoum

    Neighbors!! Abbay is gifted with many brilliant children. One of them is Isaias Afrwerki. He has our culture, our language, our physiological makeup. For centuries we lived with the Eritreans as one people. Suddenly, they are forced to be faraway from their beloved Abbay & be free. They must follow the strong wish of their revolutionary leader. We didn’t object. We gave them their freedom.we even gave them fertile lands & ports. After all, they are our blood & flesh. To be free doesn’t prevent to live as a good neighbors. But the revolutionary leader Isaias Afewerki won’t permit. He prefers Arab’s petrodollars, instead of working with us & make his own dollars. So be it! One day a strong politician Will appear & show them the right track. Then & only then will we live as a good neighbors!!! Thank you. Yared Seyoum.

  • kazanchis

    Hi all,

    GERD is feit accompli with 75% percent of completion when the turbines installed. Egypt can’t get any leverage on slowing or stalling the dam.

  • Hameed Al-Arabi

    Salam All,

    There are several kinds of inflation, and the worst of them is ignorance inflation. Inflation is controlled by the guys in Asmara by collecting people’s money on banks then distribute them through ration. Shops are full of all kinds of commodities, government doesn’t need hard currency to import goods. Exchange rate of Nakfa is very high. If you don’t believe me, visit Eritrea. Awet Nihafash.

    Al-Arabi

  • Dagm

    Interesting analysis! This is my first visit to the cite and I find the comments informative. I am asking myself why we don’t always have such kind of mature discussion. Thanks guys and keep it up.

  • Dis Donc

    Dear Amde, SAAY, etc

    Amde: did you ever wonder or question as to why the Ethiopian gov’t could not obtain loan or financing for the dam project? It seems very profitable, environmental friendly, helps the Ethiopian economy, etc. Then why could not they find loan or financial support? Please I do not want to hear that we are black or African argument!!

    International rivers are protected by the international laws. There are laws governing the kind and type of dams that can be built on these rivers. Nile is not the only international river in the world and many countries did solve their problems peacefully. Why would Ethiopia and Egypt are unique? This topic has been around this site for a while now. But we are only hearing the Ethiopian side of the story and it seems exhausted. Shouldn’t we be hearing the Egyptian side of it as well? This is because building a dam on international water is highly technical and requires cooperation on all sides. I would hope that rational minds prevail over nationalistic outbursts!!

    • Hayat Adem

      Dear Dis Donc,
      Poet Emily Dicksen wrote:
      My River runs to thee.
      Blue sea, wilt thou welcome me?
      My river awaits reply.
      Oh! Sea, look graciously…
      Egypt is acting irrational because it thought it could. And the world is heeding Egypt because it thought that way it could favor the stronger. But, if everyone would think and act rationally, what you said above is the best approach. And there is a good lesson to learn from the Mekong basin countries… Ethiopia should show some unilateral capacities in order to be heard. Only then, will be possible for them to sit down with Egypt and the 10 member countries to map out a reasonable basin-wide approach.

      • Dis Donc

        Dear Hayat,
        Can we at least hear that irrationality? Is it documented? My hope is that the Ethiopian leadership is smarter than that by not acting a hearsay. My stance on the dam is well documented here but I only hope that Ethiopians are well advised in these intricate matters. Have they been at a tribunal? Unilateral decisions are usually taken after exhausting legal means; to protect your behind as well as future actions of legal or otherwise, retributions.

        • Hayat Adem

          Hi Dis Donc,
          I think it is all documented but people like Amde or Horizon can bail me out on providing some. What I have as a general knowledge is though that Egypt repeatedly invokes two old treaties that allowed her monopolistic ownership over the water, as a matter of right. The treaties were made between Egypt and Britain, the latter as a protectorate colonial power of Sudan. But Ethiopia was never part of the agreement nor part of the British Colony. And mind you, Ethiopia contributes over 80% of the water mass in the Nile. Though Ethiopia doesn’t recognize these treaties, it never was able to get finance from the multilateral sources to utilize the water because Egypt exercises its power and influence to block.

          • Dis Donc

            Dear Hayat,
            No, no, no. Don’t you ever ask any body to support you. You are a bright star!!

            Let us take the Britain argument: wouldn’t it better to start from tribunal? I mean, clearly, Ethiopia’s right is violated, here. Is there something hidden here? Or is it that successive Ethiopian gov’ts chose not to do so for domestic political consumption? Egypt exercising its power and influence? You must be kidding, right?

          • Hayat Adem

            Thanks Dis Donc,
            The legal aspect of this case clearly seems to be within your turf. Or get ready to hear a layperson’s views. As per your suggestive question, the case to go to tribunal can be based either around removal of the Egyptian block from the financial gates to be or around writing off the old treaties. I think the first one is more likely to fall on the custom of diplomatic and bilateral powers of influence than a legal one. In that respect, Egypt has been more powerful and influential than Ethiopia. The latter one is a matter of recognition. Ethiopia doesn’t believe there is a treaty that makes her party to and binds her to honor. So, it is only the party who believes the existence of that treaty and the violation of that very treaty affecting its interests negatively that normally considers the tribunal option. Egypt has been voicing such options at times. For the successive governments, I’m not sure if it has anything to do with the domestic political consumption, and if any, doing something about it would have served them better.

          • Dis Donc

            Dear Hayat,
            Yes. I guess what I am saying is that VIENNA CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF TREATIES. You need to annul it first, legally. And there are many ways of doing this. In the case of Ethiopia it should be very easy. This is so because the same Vienna convention has a line that reads as follows: A treaty does not create either obligations or rights for a third State without its consent. You can take it from here on……

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam Dis Donc,

          Just lower your tone, otherwise you have a valid point. I read a report from the MIT world water and food security laboratory (J -WAFS) this morning, which I believe will support your argument. JWAFS Convened in Nov. 2014 a small workshop of intetnational experts that includes observers from Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt, to address the technical issue involved the GERD to make an independent and impartial evaluation. The group came up with 17 pages report and consensus recommendations. The conference identified 5 technical issues that require resolutions.

          The report is shared with with the three countries (Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt) for resolutions of equitable water sharing. I do not know the stands of the three countries on the report and its recommendations, but it requires international law and intervention to find a win -win resolutions and diffuse the un necessary tensions.

          I could not link the report and I do not know why AT disallows links in the week days. In my view at least they should make special considerations for high value links pertinent to the subject on debate. Now
          for those who are interested could google it. The title “International experts analyze impacts of Ethiopian dam” by the workshops of experts convened by MIT in 2014. This is a must read by Ethiopians who are actively debating on the issue in this forum. DD has a valid argument that helps us to look on the international law pertinent this issues.

          regards
          Ananuel

          • Dear Amanuel Hidrat,

            As you saw, this article was written more than one and half years ago, and almost 5 yrs after the start of the construction of the dam. Even then, they were discussing issues of equitable use of the waters of the nile, cooperation to operate the two huge dams on the river (the gerd and aswan dams), technical issues, the filling process, marketing of power, the problem of accumulation of salt in the nile delta and the extraction of more water by sudan for irrigations. Therefore, building or not building the gerd was no more an issue for the world community. It is a done deal, within ethiopia’s right, and the world community is even ready to help overcome the above mentioned problems.

            The 1929 and 1959 unilateral agreements that did not include ethiopia are dead, and the fact that egypt could build the aswan dam without consulting ethiopia is also behind us.
            Today nobody doubts ethiopia’s right to use her river. Unlike in the past, egypt found the doors closed as she was shuttling from one capital city to the other, in order to block, not only funding the dam, but also ethiopia’s right to build a dam on her river.
            If egypt can do anything, she will always try to do, but she will not succeed, because it has lost the support of the west, her economy is in a dire situation (incomes from tourism and shipping through the suez canal have plummeted, no more billions and free oil are coming from the ksa, etc) , and internal instability is also a big issue. As you see, it is not only ethiopia that sits on a faultline, but also egypt. Therefore, i hope that everybody understands that conflict will not be to the advantage of egypt, nor ethiopia or nations of the region.
            Regards,

            P.S. there is also an interesting comment by Yoty Topy.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Horizon,

            The issue is not whether Egypt can or can ‘t hinder the right of Ethiopia to make use its resource. My point is, isn’t the five technical issue recommended by the experts should help them to resolve. Do you have any idea as to what the position of the three countries on the report and on the recommendations of the experts? From a layman point of view I saw the report as impartial that should help them to settle their differences.

            Regards

          • Amde

            Selam Amanuel, DisDonc

            I just read the piece you included. It is certainly quite educational. My takeaways:

            a) The piece is about a workshop for technical experts on dams, hydropower and watershed management. I can find no reference to legal issues, but it certainly does lead to a set of issues the GERD will bring that can only be well address in a joint manner.

            b) It seems the set of challenges GERD puts on Egypt is higher than on Ethiopia or Sudan. For example, the salinization of the Nile delta could be a permanent kind of problem that will continue beyond the temporary problem of GERD filling rates.

            c) If I understand it correctly, controlled outflow from GERD opens significant irrigation opportunities for Sudan. In fact I would say Sudan is by far the biggest beneficiary of the GERD. It holds back and evens out the Blue Nile water just before it enters Sudan, without consuming any Sudanese territory (compare to the Aswan lake for example which extends into Sudan). And since the 1929 / 1959 water agreements give Sudan the right to consume the water, they basically can draw on it at will. Ethiopia is just holding the water back to spin some turbines. Sudan is actually taking water away. Once the filling issues are resolved, the GERD sets Egypt and Sudan onto potentially chronic water consumption conflict that can only be managed with intrusive monitoring of water usage. Or with trust – unfortunately a commodity in rather short supply.

            d) It appears Ethiopia’s right to manage and consume the water is still in legal limbo. Since the GERD is just a hydropower project, Ethiopia is not really harming Egypt’s rights in the long term. All of GERD centered discussions basically revolve around filling rates and times, and the essentially temporary reduction in water supply it would cause – which is implicit admission by Egypt that GERD is not a permanent problem.

            So assuming the technical issues are addressed, what would be the fallout?

            For Egypt, temporary problem with Ethiopia, but potentially chronic worry about Sudanese consumption of the water.

            For Ethiopia, a lot of electricity, potentially a lot of money, but the issue of Ethiopian actual consumption of water still in legal limbo. This may just be a first act in the legal process. Or Ethiopia might decide to go the micro route.. using the waters of the smaller rivers and feeder streams without touching the bigger rivers.

            For Sudan, I can see no downside only unbelievably good luck. They can get the Ethiopian electricity or choose not to. They can choose how much of the Blue Nile to consume in irrigation just short of riling Egypt into getting into war mode. They don’t have to pay for the dam… the whole burden is carried by Ethiopians. Maybe it is in Ethiopia’s interest to unite with Sudan. This dam is so good for Sudan, I can see the Sudanese defending it tooth and nail should Egypt plan some shenanigans. Every Sudanese eldest boy needs to be named GERD or Hidasse or Meles – it is that good a bonanza for them. Heck, Sudan can settle every last one of the Eritrean lowland refugees along the Blue Nile as long as they can participate in making full use of the managed year round water flow. Grant them citizenship.

            The situation will change with a post GERD dam/project that includes irrigation in Ethiopia. That will be a new game.

            Amde

          • Dear Amde,

            Just to add (repeat) this small points to what you have already said. The nile has been both a blessing and a curse for sudan. It feeds its people and gives it electricity, and at the same time every year it brings floods and destructions and moreover, more land is covered in sudan behind the aswan dam after the rainy season in ethiopia . From the time the gerd is completed, the nile will only be a blessing for sudan.

            Up to now fresh water is lost by the annual floods and the ensuing evaporation in sudan and egypt, and a huge amount of water is also lost into the med. Sea due to the increased flow after the rainy season. With the the construction of the gerd completed, there will be a regulated water flow throughout the whole year, thus minimizing water loss and at the same time increasing the net amount of water available to sudan and egypt. Therefore, the gerd is a solution rather than a problem, which egypt and sudan should appreciate.

            As to the increased consumption of water by sudan due to freed land from floods and regulated water flow resulting in increased irrigation, that is a possibility, and may be a point of discord between the two. Some egyptians have already pointed to this issue.

            My layman’s viewpoint is that the “right to manage and consume the water”, (of course not unilaterally), was declared by ethiopia on the day ethiopia decided to build the dam and diverted the nile to make way for the construction. What is yet to be decided upon is how much water she could use without hurting others. If sudan and egypt have the right, ethiopia, the source of the nile, should have the right by all logics and national and international laws.
            Of course ethiopia has very limited land for irrigation within the vicinity of the lake that is to form, and her water consumption from the lake will be minimal.

    • Amde

      Selam DisDonc,

      My understanding is as Hayat has indicated. Egypt invokes the 1929 and 1959 water treaties. Ethiopia claims those treaties do not apply to her.

      If I understand what you are saying, the International laws/treaties on transnational rivers trump the 1929 and 1959 treaties anyway, so it is immaterial whether Ethiopia disagrees with the 1929 and 1959 treaties.

      If that is how you meant it, then that is a new angle I have not heard before. You are implying Ethiopia’s unilateral position is illegal, irrespective of 1929/1959 and hence lending institutions are in fact obliged to refuse funding.

      It does not seem that such considerations affect other lenders for other projects on transnational rivers. An example would be Turkey which is constructing/has constructed dams on the Tigris and Euphrates. These are obviously very important to Syria and Iraq. But there are a a whole constellation of funders ready to lend. There have been protests against Turkish dams for sure, but these were on environmental or human rights grounds, which can admittedly cascade up to governments that can be influenced.

      The fact is Egypt is still very much maintaining its veto position over any Ethiopian water projects. Especially if the water stays. Keep in mind the GERD water will just spin generators and continue their merry way, so there is no net water loss to Egypt. The terrain is such that the water cannot be used for irrigation for example. So it is a perfect political dam. But as far as using any of that water, it is still a problem. There has been for many years a Nile Basin Initiative as well as a smaller Eastern Nile Basin Initiative to bring all together so hydro projects can be collectively studied and prioritized. But basically nothing came of it. Do you know that (as of a while ago but probably still the case) Egypt stood against Addis Ababa water (for drinking and such) dams if the water was to come from the Nile watershed?

      Funding has always been the issue and remains so to this day. Hence the self funding of the GERD by Ethiopia.

      • Dis Donc

        Dear Amde,

        International lenders and financial institutions have rules, regulation and due diligence to follow when it comes to lending. They proceed the lending process after studying the risk associated with the project. Risks come in many forms but only involves gain/loss of return. But this has little to do with political repercussions. So to me; it making little sense to allege that Egypt pulled the strings for the loss of external funding. Having said that, it is futile to talk about it if we do not hear from the Egyptian side. Meaning that there yet more info to come forthwith. But, I hope that Ethiopian decisions makers know that the world is very litigious.

  • Wudmatas

    Hello! friends,
    It looks like you are scared. The dictator is scared too. That was why he flew to Cairo right after all his plans crumbled. Ethiopians say that ‘ye ahiya bal kejib ayastilim.’

  • Brhan

    Hello Pencil @ awate,
    A good article to cover current geopolitics but it missed one issue that has been problematic between Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia. Ethiopia has always accused Saudi Arabia’s effort to export its version of Islam. Ethiopia has depicted that version i.e. Wahabi/Salafi new to what PMMZ has said, to ” Nebar Ye Islmna haymanot”. The version as Ethiopia said, agitates extremism among Ethiopian Muslims. Saudi Arabia’s image in one of important African country where African Union is located has been bad and the Saudis want to fix that by courting the Ethiopians. Saudi Arabia in it self trapped by many countries for the same reason is in process of many cultural changes and is silencing its hard line Salafi/ Wahabi critics. The Ethiopian government is going to see these changes as positive to Ethiopia as it will change the minds of religious hardliners to become moderate Muslims.

    • Ismail AA

      Ahlen Brhan,
      The perspective to have mentioned is interesting. The Moslem population of Ethiopia has been going through significant developments since sometime now. The contradictions pitted the traditional religious establishment against the thrust of new trends mainly spearheaded by elements exposed to Salafist puritan trends through their studies in Saudi Arabia. These negate the traditional Al Azhar based moderate (al wasatia) trends.
      Now, my point is ask if you have anything to say about the often spoken case Al Ahbash. I think these are centred in Lebanon.
      Regards

  • Dear All,

    If we look at the gerd only, and try to explain egypt’s behavior towards ethiopia, we will be examining only half of the equation; the other half being regional hegemony. With ample electricity, raw material, abundant work-force and an economy on the move, while egypt is moving exactly in the opposite direction, the possibility of losing influence in the horn and the whole of africa is a bitter pill egypt cannot swallow. We should never trust the myth when they say we are brothers and we are all africans. Oil, the power since wwii is gradually losing its importance, and with it the leader of the arab world, egypt, is also losing its hegemonic role, even in the arab world.

    It should not be mind-boggling why egypt insists that it’s water share shall not decrease. It is much more for internal consumption more than anything else. One can not make an omelette without breaking the egg, and there is no way to make an agreement with egypt without affecting its self-serving water quota. The point is not to harm egypt and at the same time not to succumb to its outrageous demands and blackmailing mantra that ethiopia cannot touch the waters of the nile, whether it thinks that egypt is the gift of the nile, or the nile is the gift of ethiopia. sooner than later, egypt must start water economy and invest on new water sources (e.g. the water that lies beneath the sahara as libya was doing and desalination) instead of building ghost cities around cairo and in the desert.

    Destabilizing ethiopia from within, aggression from outside either by using proxies like eritrea or directly trying to bomb the dam will not help egypt to achieve her outrageous demand. It is a done deal, that ethiopia will finish the project, because its future development and the chance to extricate herself from famine and poverty depends on this project as well. In the above scenarios, in the first case it will be democracy in ethiopia that will be the victim, in the second case eritrea, because it will be a war of live or die and one of the two must survive at the end, and finally breaking some stones from the sky will delay the completion, but it will not make ethiopia abandon the project. Moreover, it will loosen ethiopia’s hands to do whatever she likes with the nile with no restriction, because short of occupying the country, which egypt will never be able to achieve, there is nothing egypt can do other than to negotiate.

    Dia has perfected his role of putting eritrea in a precarious position. When there are not people to tell him to cut the bs, and he is surrounded only by yes-men, he stops being a politician and becomes an adventurer.
    If dia is in the position to put in jeopardy the eritrean nation, and if he thinks that the benefit is greater than the loss incurred, then indeed the dictator is still a dangerous man as always despite his age. Regional hegemony and his dictatorial rule are still more important to him than the eritrea he says he created and could destroy any time. A person who goes to war for a piece of land will go to war for no reason or any minor reason. Eritreans are not free of blame for they have succumbed to his bullying and they are responsible to a certain extent for creating the monster they could not control. What will be the impact of giving facilities to a foreign power to attack another country? In this case, the number-one enemy will be the facilitator, because without it the far-away enemy would not have dared.

    Finally, i believe that funds will continue to be available. if already 70% of the dam has been accomplished and with the dam going to produce the first 700MW of electricity next year, the end is in sight.

  • Burhan Ali

    Awate.com’s The pencil have overlooked an important thread in its analysis which could have thrown more light onto the subject: The developing tensions between Egypt and Saudi Arabia which, probably, have triggered a visit by Ethiopian prime minister to Saudi Arabia, and another visit by the Eritrean Strong man to Egypt. The Ethiopian visit was as much highlighted in the Saudi Press as the Eritrean one in the Egyptian press. The Ethiopian Prime minister and his hosts signed several commercial and investment agreements in the value of 600 Million Saudi Riyals in the first day of the visit only. A speaker on behalf of the Ethiopian Government stated that his government considers Saudi Arabia a strategic stability and security partner.
    The Eritrean visit to Egypt was not very much different than the Ethiopian to Riyadh, except, perhaps, for the financial profit each of the two visits may have earned. The most important outcome of the Eritrean visit as highlighted by Dr. Ramadan Arni(رمضان قرني), an Egyptian Expert of African affairs, was the activation of the joint committee for the reinforcement of cooperation in the different sectors including agriculture, fishing and animal wealth.
    However, it is worthwhile to observe that the Eritrean visit was widely commented upon. One such comment was by The ex-director of the foreign ministry office of accords and agreements, Ibrahim Yusri, in which he hoped that Eritrea would be the winning card for Egypt in its struggle with Ethiopia for the waters of the Nile. Another expert recommended that Eritrea should be helped ‘to help us’ disrupt the building of the dam. But the political expert Mohmmed Izz, has expressed his uneasiness as he believes that his country is mismanaging the GRD file wrongly even by courting Eritrea.
    While the Ethiopian visit lacked the interest of the Saudi Social media, the Eritrean visit raised hopes in many Egyptians in the social media that Eritrean Youth may die for preventing their thirst.

    • Saleh Johar

      Ahlam Burhan,
      You are right, there are a lot that can be added, but we didn’t want the editorial to run for pages with no end. But the Ethiopian PM’ visit to Saudi Arabia was covered here: http://awate.com/ethiopian-pm-on-a-state-visit-to-saudi-arabia/

      • Hayat Adem

        Dear Pencil,
        The Pencil has tabled this analysis on Nile politics and I would say, it is generally fair, comprehensive and timely. What Burhan said should have been part of the analysis. Saying this, I have also couple of points as a comment. The Pencil sounds so cold and detached, it is treating the subject like one would to a news story. In fact, the only time we would sense it is the Pencil of Awate is when it somehow generously flagged the excuse that IA is exploiting as a result of Ethiopians’ continued occupation of Eritrean sovereign territories
        ——–.
        Let me use this illustrative example: Does it make any sense if an addicted gambler says the reason why he wouldn’t stop gambling was because he thought he had other people owning him money that he aspires to get it back? Of course, it doesn’t. He should stop simply because gambling is not going to provide him any solution except more sufferings. But, he won’t stop because of the power of addiction is stronger than the power of reason. The same logic dictates the fact that even if he somehow was offered the money he claimed someone owed him, he wouldn’t stop. In fact, the money would add a new energy into the gambling machine life leading into more accelerated waves of gambles. “But people would start getting angered and opposing the gambler!” Yah.. so.. you think that would stop the gambler…?
        ——–
        Did the gambler have any reason or excuse to trigger a war against Yemen, and earlier against Sudan.. and a bit later against Djibouti… And then the one still unaccounted and not yet found its natural closure, the war and hostility against Ethiopia? Any sensible reason for him going as far as Somalia to bed with terrorists? Any reason supporting Iran and Houthis, and then flipflopping to the otherside to be supporting the KSA led, GCCs sponsored destruction of Yemen…any reason siding with the self-declared nile-is-mine Egypt, contrary to Eritrea’s geography (forget principle) as an upper riparian member of the basin? Yes, there is a reason: Gambling. Mizner would define gambling as the art of getting nothing for something. But why would a gambler care! No reason! Well, others should care because this gambler is a different type, and not a lone actor, he is playing it by collateralizing an entire country and people.
        ——–
        A patient goes to his doctor for diagnosis. The doctors comes back to break the results of the lab to his patient. “Mr. Brown, the results show that you are seriously ill. You are suffering from bone-cancerous-tumor that has overgrown over the time and it looks too late to medically intervene. Yes, one more thing: you have also a piece of spinach between your teeth which you can go and remove it in the bath room easily.” Badime is the spinach between the teeth. There are more grave issues.
        ——–
        Data shows Djibouti is earning USD 1.2 billion every year from the Ethiopian import-export traffic. All that or the biggest part of would have been Eritrea’s revenue. Think of it: $1.2 B! This B is not for Badime, it is for Billion. That is what we lost only from the port revenue, and only from one customer- in the last 16 years (roughly 20 billion dollars)- losing all that to the gambling game. If we were to normalize relations with Ethiopia, it would be hard to win all that market back, some of that is gone forever. I cry when i think of such permanent lose of fortune. And this is only one example.
        ——–
        One would hope the Pencil to view things strategically. Badime’s importance is as much as it has become politicized during the war and as much as it is tied with the consequence of accountability it carries. It has never been a territorial issue. The Pencil uncharacteristically flagging that part and failing to mention the strategic implications and costs of such adventure and gambling, like the kinds I and Burhan mentioned above, is so petty. Dr Bashir, in his testimony in the hearing said two things that are very important regarding the border and demarcation. One, that there is dispute over the 95% of the border based on the tribunal decision made by the EEBC. Two, the fact that it stayed undemarcated risks the possibility of Ethiopia considering other options. he mentioned the likelihood of Ethiopia applying the Crimea Model over the Afar coast. Ironically, the gambler went all the way to Russia to endorse the Crimea events. The other thing the gambler did, in stead of agreeing to demarcating the undisputed areas and securing 95% of the border, which would have been good enough to normalize relation and bring back the port commerce, he gambled the 95% for the 5%. That is what gamblers do. They crave for a small meat and lose the giant feast. In the process, the gambler effectively killed APA. Border demarcation means APA, TSZ, UNMEE, EEBC…all gone. As far as I can see, any demarcation or territorial exchange would need re-institutionalization of APA, or some kind of bilateral relations, or a political will for a renewed mediation. I can only see the possibility these things happening post PFDJ.

        • blink

          Dear Hayat

          It is amusing how your witty head is just out of touch with the reality. when are you going to admit that , the dictator in Asmara have used the border issue thousands times ? Yet you try to put on the real issue a cold water . I and most people especially Eritreans who know the dictator move will always point the finger at your 100% elected government for giving the dictator a reason to keep our people in a cage . Admit it the pencil will always point the interest of Eritrea ahead of your perceived assumption . By the way who on earth think that EPRDF are not helping the dictator to have excuse with an informed Eritreans about the border . Who on earth think the 100% elected government is sitting in Eritrean land and they refuse to go with the ruling ? For the informed once , Badme is nothing but for the general public it is and will be a reason to give the benefit of doubt to this dictator. Crimea oww , you and the Dr has been sleeping may be . Is the Russian Government on emergency ? does the russian government has a blocked down cities ? come on , Ethiopia is in emergency room and we all know how a wounded person with out doctor end up. Get real then at least your stealth writing will at least have some up ward vote from Eritreans minus all 4 south.

          Your example as addicted person is not true and it is a flat out lie , because the dictator has been using the border issue for almost 15 years , if you want know please ask to people who are locked in military training aged 17-60 years old . As we read this there is GIFA in all villages around Asmara and down to serejeka , adi tekelezan , and the main reason for that is “WEYANE is stressed so they may take military action .(what do you say )

          • Thomas

            Hi Blink,

            Thank you for defining yourself, you are always stressed. Yes, Hayat is right if it not Ethiopia, it would be Yemen or Sudan or Djibouti or USA or Kenya or Uganda or anything that comes in the mind of your master!!

          • blink

            Dear Thomas
            did i look like that ? you must have your own symptom to say that , but lets go to wizero hayat , y knows who she is but lets assume she is right about the addicted person ( i have no idea or know any one who is addicted on drugs ) may be she know some one or may be she is expert on that but she failed on the border issue. Lets go to the states you mentioned , 1.sudan they have done it ,2 .yemen they have done it and she respect to international rule 3, dijbouti they already done it 4, kenya and Uganda are just explanation of your ignorance of the two states that we can not have border issue by any means unless you divided Ethiopia and give some part to Eritrea that can border her to both countries.

          • Thomas

            Hi Blink,

            Really, you still haven’t gotten it? DIA knows that America is 23 hours flight from Eritrea and is not bordered by any country in the world except with Mexico and Canada. Yet, DIA wanted America’s foreign policy changed. DIA knows that Somalia has NO border with Eritrea, yet he wanted to see Al Shabab like government in Somalia. DIA knows Kenya and Uganda do not have borders with Eritrea, yet he has problems with these nations because they have their armies fighting Al Shabab in Somalia. So, always he will be have a perceived enemy or real enemies. There is always a pretext to create an imaginary enemy thus prolonging his stay in power. Eritrea’s problem is internal and will not change as long as DIA and his puppets are in power!!

          • Hayat Adem

            Hi blink,
            I think Thomas has said it beautifully briefly what needs to be said on this point. But will give you examples in hte hope of helping you see my points. Militarization has been part of the PFDJ/EPLF from the get go. They had many rounds of mass conscription before and after the war with Ethiopia. The only difference you may have seen b/n “before and after”, is the broadening of the age range of the conscripts. And that is very understandable. The fisher reaches out to new places with bigger nets as catching number per area becomes less and less because of the excessive fishing outpacing reproduction.
            The other trend you may have seen between the ” before and after” is the fact that the method of conscription has become less and less voluntary and more and more coercive. Right? That is also explainable. People are rational. Give them a good reason and purpose. They will embrace the challenge and support you. Show them positive results, they will support you even more. Were there any positive results from all these sacrifice and militarization for people to justify its purpose over the years?
            One more thing, we have been witnessing as a difference of public reaction to the mass conscription comparing the “before and after”, is that now that people don’t subscribe to the purpose itself and the method being applied, you see mass defections and mass exodus. This is also not hard to understand. People do desperate things when they are desperate, such as not just the the sigre-dob, but more painful decisions such as sigre berekha and sigre baHri.
            I’m challenging all your reasoning and arguments here: 1) the gambler has been doing it before and after, so the gambler doesn’t need any reason, sensible or otherwise. 2) Contrary to what you said, people are not buying any excuse of the gambler for such a purpose and method as they are not volunteering for nor blessing it, in stead, they are defecting and leaving when they could. You have no convincing point in all those scenarios.
            The only generous excuse and halfheartedness i see being exploited by the gambler is when some Eritreans are more concerned about the political issues with the lack thereof of justice, fairness, elections, democracy, and legitimacy of the EPRDF government than how those things are more acutely and cruelly non-existent at home.
            Compare Eritrea+Eritreans and Badime in terms of value. If the gambler is gambling with Eritrea and Eritreans, the importance of Badime is equal to its being absent in the gambling game as a resource for the gambler. Save Eritrea and Eritreans first so that saving Badume can also make sense. Remove the beast and its bad system, and then you will clearly see what to do next: whether it is more important for you to save Tsorona or Badime, whether to commercialize the ports or talk about Ethiopian democracy…

        • betri_weyn

          Dear Hayat
          It’s always a pleasure to read you here in @wate

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam SGJ,

        Sure Gedab news has covered the official visit of Ethiopian PM to Saudi Arabia and the politics related to his visit. But this editorial is an analysis about the geopolitics of the region which should include Saudi Arabia visa vis Ethiopia in to the hybrid war of politics of the region to show the complete reflection of the conflict.

        Second a random visitor of awate who reads this editorial analysis will notice a miss of one factor into the geopolitical picture of the region. So Burhan’s reminder about it id spot on.

        Regards
        Amanuel Hidrat

      • Nitricc

        Hey SJ, it is the rule of this website that there shall not be allowed any link during weekdays. if so, why is this link allowed?

        • Saleh Johar

          Hi Nitric,
          You should bring that to the attention of the moderators. Maybe it slipped through without them noticing it. I suggest you consider the easiest reason and the easiest solution. If you see something wrong, help by pointing it out, without implying anything. For today, I will check it once I get home, if no moderator takes action before that.

          • Nitricc

            greetings SJ: I wasn’t implying anything; although, they way I stated it may sound so. I admit, i have terrible time dealing with unexplained restrictions. I tried to find out the reason for the restrictions of links to no avail, so, my comments to you was to provoke you into revealing the reason for the link restrictions. very well be a good reason for it, links could overload the system, links could introduce viruses, links could disrupt the flow of the debate, links could cause more work for moderator, I don’t know but a little explanation from AT can go along way. I understand this forum is a privilege not a right but some of us are wired to know the reason why. That is all SJ.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hello Nitricc,

            I appreciate your frank comment. I will try to give you my view but please do not in any way consider it representative of awate as an institution.

            You have explained the enough problems associated with links. The disqus system setting has two check boxes for links; Allow/Disallow. It would be simple to check the disallow box and have peace of mind, but the comment will automatically delete the link. We decided against that.

            Now let me explain traffic and service:

            Websites work hard to provide their visitors/readers/members with enough material to keep them informed and stay loyal friends. They do not appreciate interrupting their readers with links that take them to cheap video-clips or unwanted destinations. As you know, it’s difficult to check every link and then decide whether to delete or leave it–that will require someone working full time. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources for that.

            However, we could have tolerated it if those who put links would be considerate and limit the number of links they provide. We find links that carry viruses, that go to xxxdirty sites, to gambling sites, and simply to annoying content linked not for benefit the reader but to damage this website it’s for the same reason we do not encourage guest posting, some of them do not visit this forum to debate, educate, and learn, but to disrupt and to abuse the members. Also, remember there are thousands or trolls who regularly hop different websites providing links that lead to advertisements and marketing contents, and we have to be watchful of such abuses of technology to protect our website and your time and emotions that you have entrusted to this website, which is basically your website.

            Imagine someone writes a two line comment followed by five links! If a commenters believe what they intend to link is important, it would be appreciated if they would summarize it for the readers—“it’s there, click the link and go and read it”, is not suitable for the type of forum we aspire to have. At any rate, that is one way of explaining it, Nitricc.

            The second is, if you own restaurant A, and a few yards away there is restaurant B, you do not give your patrons a menu of restaurant B. Your waiter cannot tell the clients to try the food at restaurant B. I am sure you understand this analogy because you claim to be direct. Why would we allow readers to go to websites where they risk losing a few brain cells, or return with a heartburn? We would rather be wrongly perceived as control freaks instead of exposing you to, shabait, or meshrefet, for instance. Enforcing rules for the heck of it is not the intention or the reality and the fair would testify to that.

            We have great respect for all of you here but we cannot have a rule for Nitricc and another rule for Amde, and yet many other rules specific to every member of this forum. As Saay would say, (proverb alert) bsenki linka ynedid rHus and nquts.

            Having said all of that, for fairness sake, links are allowed on weekends because we feel some of you (like Eyob for example) are cursing the moderators. Even Amanuel was mad when his link was deleted though he always chastises commenters for not staying seriously focused—links are the main disruption as explained above. I don’t think Emma appreciates someone leaving his article to watch some obscure singer whose voice is hazardous to the ears. (Emma, please don’t reply to this).

            Nitricc, if you do not believe me, ask any webmaster about readers/visitors retention strategy and they will bombard you with so much information you will be convinced even if you are not just to get over with the technical jargon. If that happens, come back here and appreciate the tough unpaid moderation work.

            To wrap it up: if any of you feels the content you would like to link to is important, please summarize it instead. If you can’t summarize it for any reason, then provide the title and author, etc. Those who are interested will definitely, google it. If you must provide links, then be happy weekends are born every five-days, patience. Now I will forcefully take the credit due to the moderators but is not ye given: for months, we warned the forum to “Use links sparingly…” to extent that a few mocked that message. We prepared you to live with a no-link forum because the damages are greater than the benefits. Only after all of that did we resort deleting links. You are welcome.

          • Nitricc

            Greetings SJ; I just read your replay and I am wondering why AT chose to go through the problems and all the abuses from the forum participants, starting from my self. It would have been very productive and problem free if the participants were told about the problem. Anyway I thank you for the explanation you have presented us. Reading your explanation I am surprised AT didn’t
            eliminate links all together. Even weekends only may not be enough to out done the risks you have mentioned or the labor intensive work of Modas. So, I think there is a win-win solution; how about the letting the reader accesses the link that Someone has posted.
            For instance; I really wanted to post this link for someone to watch or read. so, normally it will be posted as………

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnHRMvVuoXU
            But to protect the web-site and to ease the Moda’s work, it will be posted as..

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?2222v=gnHRMvVuoXU

            this way the readers will access the link by copying the dormant link on their own risk and time by deleting the (2222) That are used to break the live link. This way all the headaches and problems will be eliminated. Just an idea.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Nitricc,

            Taking the abuse comes with the territory. If that is what some commentators cannot avoid on their own, we can only remind them to be courteous and decent. But we are committed to the struggle and that requires paying the emotional and other taxes. What we hope is for people to understand that and help make the life of moderators easy.

            We cannot eliminate links altogether because we might want to link materials based on our editorial requirement and judgement (some people think we are affording ourselves editorial privileges and denying it to others–and we can’t give up our editorial rights, can we?) That’s what we do. Therefore, frequently switching the system to allow and disallow is an extra burden.

            Your suggestion on how to deal with links sounds good at the first glance, but even then, if we follow your suggestion, the links have to be moderated. If you remember, we have white hat designation of member accounts. But often, even those designated white hat accounts tend to lose it, so occasionally. That is why we settled for links on weekends only arrangement. Unfortunately, until we are sure that everybody is complying, we have no other way but to keep it as is.

            I hope I have explained it enough according to my individual views.

            Thank you

  • tes

    Dear AT,

    Thank you for this master piece. It is a great editorial work.

    From what I understand, the issue of the Nile has stayed for thousands of years. Egyptians never stopped from navigating this river. Ethiopia was their main destiny. We have many historical anecdotes to prove that Egypt never stoppped from being a natural guardian of this great river. And they have a reason to do so.

    Equally Ethiopians know their resources. But they always miss is how to use it without being affected the political implication.

    What I see as a great mistake from Egypt is: “it trying to have an absolute ownership by controlling the politics of Ethiopia. This will always complicate the relationship between these two countries.

    And what I see from the Ethiopîan wrong side of two types:
    1. The government – Till PMMZ decided to build GERD, all previous governments failed to use the Nile as a natural resource. They failed to have a gut and hence they always tried to politicize the issue as it is a religious issue. When we come to the Nile, religion should not be even a subject of discussion. the government therefore should treat this issue apart from religious issue and no Arabophobia.

    2 Those who oppose the government – Even I can take the case of Eritreans cause. ELF started its revolutionary works in Egypt. Though I do not have full historical proofs, I can easily conspire that Egypt was partially welcomed ELF to influence Ethiopian strategy on the Nile River. Eritrean cause is much complicated to put it in a box of the Nile politics. It was much bigger. However, today’s Ethiopian opposition forces are making a big historical mistake by working with Egypt to advance their political interest. If Ethiopians believe on one Ethiopia, they should not use the Nile politics at all. If they continue to do so, all we will see is a fragmented and weak Ethiopia.

    Thereofore, my advice is Ethiopian and Egyptian government should be wise enough to bring an sustainable and wise solution to this milleniums years old complicated political history. Egypt should stop trying to be aggressive on the Nile issue as it will not be a lasting solution. If could be possible, Egypt could have used all military means to control the Nile but this is impossible unless the people of Ethiopia extnicts.

    One more point: Eritrea under PFDJ is not for good of Ethiopia. PFDJ will use all possible political and military means to engage with any force that works against Ethiopia. DIA has publically disclosed that PMMZ had a bad intention when he decided to build a dam on the Nile basin. DIA’s lines are enough to prove what PFDJ’s intention.

    Finally: Ethiopians and Egyptians should be wise enough to search a sustainable solution that will benefit both countries. With all modern sciences, the best analysis can be done to see any impact that can be produced. Plus, Egyptians should also work hard to exploit Sea water. Today there is solar and wind energy that can be produced cheaply for power use. Not only this simply evaporation technologies are develeoping that have enough capacity to use sea water for good. Egypt therefore should not be so much dependent on the Nile. I believe that within the coming one to two decades, Egypt can get more than 50% of its water demand from Sea water. It is just like that of shifting from Non-Renewable to Renewable resources. Thanks to ice melting, sea water is raising. The world will be happy if someone pumps it out so that some cities could be saved from sinking(Just for fun).

    Let Egypt therefore focus on sustainable water management.
    Let Ethiopia not use the Nile as a political tool.

    Yo, those forces who are opposing Ethiopian government, be wise. Be free from PFDJ, be free from the Nile issue. If you love your country, just oppose not use agents or tertiary means for your cause.

    tes

    • Amde

      Selam Tes,

      Just a couple of points.

      It is incorrect to say “Till PMMZ decided to build GERD, all previous governments failed to use the Nile as a natural resource. They failed to have a gut and hence they always tried to politicize the issue as it is a religious issue. ”

      Their problem was that they could not get financing to get the projects done because they always ended up going to multilateral institutions who would invariably defer to Egypt’s political influence. Even the GERD is being built using domestic resources – nobody would loan Ethiopia the money to invest into such a politically charged project. And the Ethiopian government was continuously in bad shape – a poor country continuously engaged in expensive wars in Eritrea, in Tigray and with Somalia which the Egyptians were always very happy to help keep burning.

      Just as a background on the GERD, after years of trying to deal with Egypt the polite way, PMMZ finally was frustrated and asked to see if there were any feasibility work done on dams on the Blue Nile. It turned out there were many done during the HaileSellasie era and one of them (the current GERD) had been done by an Italian company called Salini Construction, a company that had many years of operation in Ethiopia, at the emperor’s personal request. It is said the owner of Salini was instrumental in convincing Meles of the GERD feasibility.

      As far as I know, GERD is the only capital project in the country which is being completely financed domestically. There are many other projects – roads, dams, railways etc – which have had no problem getting external financing and are ongoing. That is one of the benefits of getting a deal with Egypt – there will (possibly) be access to a lot of international financing for many water projects on the Nile.

      EPRDF was lucky in that for the first time there was a period of relative peace and some economic growth allowing the government to be ambitious enough to finally start putting many of these projects into action.

      I agree on Ethiopian opposition not working with Egypt. But this was a formula that worked for the ones that succeeded before – i.e. EPLF, TPLF – so I am not surprised the new ones look to Cairo for help. We should not have opposition based outside – period.

      Maybe Egypt’s water problems will be solvable in an economically sustainable manner at some point in the future. If not using the Nile, Egypt can start using its huge aquifers (not sustainable beyond about 100 years or so), or using desalination (very energy and cost intensive right now). There might be other technical solutions we don’t know about, but for now it looks like talking is going to be the best bet for the next 20-40 years timeframe.

      Amde

      • tes

        Selam Amde,

        I think what I said is what is true. You have just confirmed what I said that no one was with a gut to come out with a practical solution until PMMZ decided to do so. I am aware that Ethiopia always has a plan on the Nile, especially the last 100 years. But none was materialized for a different reasons. PMMZ came with a practical solution to kick on the project: being independent of foreign help(in what ever form it is) and raise the budget from ethiopians themselves. This needs a gut, I am right? When PMMZ took that step, I think he was much aware on the geopolitics but he wanted to end it also. Sometimes such geopolitics could be changed as a myth if practical steps are not taken. I think now therefore the myth of Nile Politics is over now (at least Egyptians will know that they will continue to survive if after the construction of the dam. Before, Egyptians had a different mindset, Nile for us or end of life. But now, they will realize that “Oh it is even for others too.”

        The rest, I think we don’t have a different perspective. I concur with your extended elaboration.

        tes

  • Amde

    Selam Awatistas,

    Based on IsmaelAA’s comment, i fished around for information on impact of climate change in the Nile Basin.

    Here is what i found on Ethiopia..
    “”For all the catastrophic impacts of climate change, there are some silver linings,” said Zach Easton, associate professor of biological systems engineering. “The sad irony is that climate change may be the catalyst Ethiopia needs to become a food-exporting country.”…. “Ethiopia could experience increased water accessibility making growing seasons longer and potentially allowing for two crops to be grown per year,” 

    I could find no such positive outlook for Egypt. With hotter temperature, impacts include increased evaporation loss on the Aswan, land loss in the Nile delta due to rising water level, significant reduction in Suez canal traffic as all year trans Arctic shipping starts to pick up.

    It reinforces to me at least that on the issue of the GERD, Egyptian politicians have needlessly chocked themselves off from what the experts say is a feasible solution. They keep politicizing the issue and inflaming the Egyptian street, and in the process attaining a reasonable long term compromise – some kind of joint waterbasin management – that much more difficult. The GERD is a done deal.. current events might slow it down but it is as good as done.

    Amde

    • Yoty Topy

      Hi Amde,

      Some where in a dungeon in Harare , Mengistu Hailemariam is probably doing a happy dance ‘ I told you so!’:)

      Do you by any chance happen to know what percent is completed?
      ሰሰ

      • Saleh Johar

        Goth topy,
        I heard 70% is completed. They plan to finish by next year, but I think it will be 2018.

      • Amde

        Selam Yoty,

        I think the 70% number might be right.. supposedly the government had to switch a lot of foreign currency to famine relief and so because of that many projects were put on the backburner.

        In any case whether it is 70 or 17, it is a done deal. There are other large dams planned on the Abbay itself and other major tributaries. (One was planned so close to the GERD that it was set aside when it was discovered just how big the GERD lake was going to be … almost right into the second dam itself) I understand the GERD was prioritised as the largest possible dam that could be built on the Blue Nile, and force a political compromise with Egypt. I would support naming it the Meles Zenawi Dam.

        Frankly I thought the cost of solar was dropping so fast that Egypt can forego GERD electricity and maintain a belligerent attitude, but that still does not seem likely. So cheap GERD electricity, even at discount rates is a good inducement Ethiopia can offer. And with the other dams brought online, Ethiopia is offering significantly more usable water(unevaporated) for the whole basin.

        I don’t know if you had a chance to talk with some Egyptians about this issue, but what pisses them off more than Ethiopia building the GERD is Sudan being quite enthusiastic about it.

        Amde

        • saay7

          Hey Amde:

          Does Ethiopia have the entire funding? Part of what contributed to the demise of the career of Italy’s Prime Minister, Mateo Renzzi, are all the shenanegans he did funding things like Ethiopia’s Gibe III dam while completely bypassing the Italian government. There is a grassroots populist movement rising in Europe–Brexit, humiliation/resignation of Renzi, Five Star party, and right-wing populist politicians calling for Homeland First.

          So I hope you guys don’t run out of money or, maybe it is all Chinese/Africa Development Bank funding. The West appears to be saying we are done.

          saay

          • Amde

            Selam Saay,

            I believe as far as the GERD is concerned it is all Ethiopian. 99% of Ethiopians first heard the word Bond not from Bond, James Bond (that would be spoiled city slickers like me), but Bond, GERD Bond.

            It looks like there is ample Chinese money, Turkish money, Japanese money etc… The multilaterals (World Bank and so forth) appear to still have money as long as it is not politically tainted.

            The US/European bilateral money might be drying up, but watching China pick up deals and influence left and right may have ways of concentrating minds. So the West may think they are done, but they are not done playing pseudo-empire. They would not have been playing at the aid game if they were losing their shirts over it anyway. It just may be that the benefit of Italy financing a dam in Ethiopia is not so obvious to the guy in Bologna whose Bologna sandwich is a little out of the reach of what is in HIS wallet.

            The whole rightward tilt of the European and American street based on economic anxiety will come to a reckoning pretty soon I think. Jobs will be increasingly hard to come by, but demand – physical demand driven by physical people will still be there. And the physical means to meet the demand are there too (inflation is generally low because there is abundance of goods). The missing ingredient is money in people’s pocket. The old way to put money in a consumers pocket was for the consumer to work at a job. But with jobs being lost to automation, this deal is not going to work for long.

            I don’t know why there is a scarcity of money. Seriously – why are sovereign governments in debt?. In any case, one of the things we will likely see sooner than later is something called guaranteed basic income. There are a bunch of experiments on that score all over the world (OK mostly Europe). You can call it welfare money no questions asked. That “could” eliminate economic anxiety, but people need jobs for many other psychological and social reasons so that won’t be the whole answer.

            Communism over the horizon?

            What say you?

            Amde

          • Hayat Adem

            Hi Amde,
            Guaranteed basic income… This is real then. I heard of such stuff a while ago. The guy who explained it to me likened it with the agricultural heavy subsidy scheme practiced in the West disadvantaging many others. He was alarmed of a situation whereby some people having guaranteed such income at home will wander around the developing world for additional income making opportunities by offering their labor and skill for lower wages. This, he thinks, would greatly disturb the labor market in those emerging economies and push many out of the job market.

          • Amde

            Selam Hayat,

            Funny you should say that. There are so many Chinese in Ethiopia that some people claim there some now that are selling produce on the roadside.. the good old ጉልት..

            Well I didn’t think about that scenario. I would have thought if people generally can get by they would prefer not to leave home. But I can see the possibility you mentioned too.

            I guess this is one of those things that reveals what a person is really like. If they are prone to be wastrels, they will waste the money and their lives away. If they are creatively inclined, they will use the freedom of not having to work to engage in something creative.

            The west can afford it, I am fearful of what it means of the developing world. Technically automation is making the labor content of production insignificant so reducing the need to outsource. That has been the model for the export led economies who could capitalize on their abundant labor. If labor becomes negligible maybe resource availability and transportation costs become important?

            It’s a big issue hardly being discussed. But I guess countries with larger natural resources to process, cheap energy and good infrastructure are better positioned to negotiate the transition.

            Amde

          • Dear Hayat Adem,

            On top of what you and Amde said about guaranteed basic income, there is also the case of a european country (i am not sure if it was switzerland, sweden or another country), that carried out referendum a year or so ago, on whether the government should implement it or not. The most astonishing outcome was that the great majority of the citizens voted against it, explaining that if a guaranteed basic income was given to all citizens, whether they work or not, the population of the country will double in few years, because people from neighboring and far away countries will do their best to sneak in and become beneficiaries of the system.

            As much as automation is concerned, researchers say that whether its outcome will be beneficial or detrimental to the majority, depends on who controls automation, i.e. whether it is the giant corporates or the government. When almost all become jobless due to automation, the cycle of work-wage-produce-profit, which is the foundation of the capitalist economic system will be disrupted, resulting in the demise of capitalism itself, unless society become the beneficiary of automation, i.e. the fulfillment of communism, as Amde said.

          • saay7

            Selam Amde:

            When a question appears too easy to answer, I assume it’s a trick question. So Amde: are u really wondering why sovereign debt exists and why sometimes it’s the only way out?

            On communism: some brands are ruined for several lifetimes. What Mao, Stalin, Mengistu did—kill tens of millions of people-/was all done in the name of Marx-Lennin. Those who want to rehabilitate it will have to wait 2 more generations unto all its victims are dead. In the mean time, they can dress it up as socialism, economic nationalism etc.

            saay

          • Amde

            Haha saay

            Consider it a craziness. It is a simple question because I am a simple man.

            Yes governments owe because they spend more than they take in in taxes and other revenue.

            But how sovereign is a state if it has no control over its currency?

            Of course this will lead to discussions of helicopter money and inflation like Zimbabwe. I get that part. But surely there is a middle way where a state can create the money it needs to meet its obligations without busting the economy. This is of course irrelevant to poor countries like ours.. more of a curiosity that may apply to the West as you termed it.

            Anyway, just a nagging question in my mind. I am no economist so it is likely highly delusional on my part.

            Agreed on Communism though. Too much blood.

            Amde

          • saay7

            Hi Amde:

            Like you said, a country can meet its financial needs by raising revenue or cutting expenses. And it can raise revenue either by taxation/tariffs or by selling loans. And when it sells loans to other countries in their own currency it is called sovereign debt or national debt.

            When you are us, and you always have trade deficits (import more than export), how are you supposed to generate the revenue you need to meet your goals, specially if your currency is worthless?

            Zimbabwe is too easy; and Europe is too hard. I think the one to look at into what contributes to its fiscal/monetary disorder is Argentina. In Zimbabwe, the West has an unusual control: it told the German printer of Zimbabwe’s currency to stop printing….which led to what all these things lead to, change of note, new printer, lionization of Mugabe as the Last Independent African Who Stood Up To Europe, etc.

            saay

          • Amde

            Hi Saay,

            I guess I am questioning the “And it can raise revenue either by taxation/tariffs or by selling loans. And when it sells loans to other countries in their own currency it is called sovereign debt or national debt.” part.

            Let’s take us po’ folk out of this discussion and stick to muzunguland.

            “Selling Loans” = selling bonds. Right. So the US government says, I need dollars, so I will borrow dollars from those who have them. The assumption is that it cannot create (print) the money it needs. If it could, then what is the point of borrowing?

            Even if the dollars technically belong to the Federal Reserve, at the end of the day, it is the government’s will that makes the Federal Reserve’s money the “real” money. Without the statement that the piece of paper is legal tender, it is just pretty paper. To me that is the expression of the state’s sovereignty.

            Any bank down the street can technically create money “out of thin air” when it grants us poor schmucks a loan on a deadbeat lemon of a car. But a government that has to meet the needs of its citizens does not have such power. It has to borrow the same money it willed into existence, and pay it back by taxing its citizens. Something about it seems off to me.

            In 25 or 30 or 40 years time when being jobless (simply because even the McDonald’s AI can fill your order better and cheaper than a living person) becomes the norm, I don’t know how the current model will survive. If governments adopt guaranteed basic income (which seems likely), and which based on current models they have to fund via taxation, at some point I can see the sheer number of taxable people and entities (“Corporations are people” – remember that?) dwindle and it becomes mathematically impossible for them to meet basic income just via taxation. I see them start questioning why if creating money is good enough for the local bank it is not good enough for the state.

            That also maybe sidesteps the awkward conversation as to ultimately to whom should the value created through all this automation accrue?

            That is kinda what I meant.

            Amde
            PS. You have a phenomenal knowledge on current African issues.. I can definitely see you as a Foreign Minister in waiting for any country haha.

          • saay7

            Hey Amde:

            First of all, about that foreign minister stuff, tuf belo, which literally means spit it out, but the two have different meanings:)

            My writing is all jumbled: what the hell is “sell a loan”?:) You don’t sell a loan, you sign one. You issue bonds. You…. This automatically disqualifies me from Foreign Ministry contention.

            Sovereign loan is not necessarily a bond. It is a loan with interest rates and payments; and the interests are dependent on the credit-worthiness of the country, which is why all African countries hate the World Bank and the IMF: the rates are high, and the things they do when you are delinquent (austerity, privatization) are always things that serve the lender and not the borrower. This is why China, Turkey appear to be attractive alternatives to developing nations like Ethiopia.

            As to why a country would go for sovereign debt when it can just print currency, well, isn’t that the whole premise of QE3 (quantitative easing 3) where a lot of people in the US have been predicting high inflation, but the Fed has somehow figured out how to flood the market with easy money without raising inflation? But that is the US and you said leave the Mzungus out of it: for us Third Worlders, there hasn’t been a case where we eased the money flow (print, print, print) where it hasn’t resulted in an inflationary market which wipes out people’s meager savings.

            As for joblessness and artificial intelligence… now I see that you are a pessimist. I am sending you an application form to join our movement, transhumanism, which argues that the uberman of the future will be genetically engineered to be partially machine. You combine that with hedonism and, voila, the world will no longer have any suffering. They may be jobless, but they won’t feel the pain:)

            saay

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Ande,

            You asked, why borrow when the fed can print money?

            I think you didn’t factor the effect that would have on inflation, which is a sure thing when money supply increases. But that is basic as you know.

            A top notch economist once explained that to me : the reason why some countries experience more acute inflation while other don’t is the lack (or rudimentary) market maturity and lack of reliable statistics and market intelligence. In developed nations, they can accurately (almost) predicts flactuations of currency multiplier effect. Based on that, they either print or borrow from the market, that is offer bonds. If they fell the multiplier is low, they sell bonds, if they feel the multiplier is high, they print. In undeveloped markets, any if that might have disasterous consequences.

          • Amde

            Selam Saleh J.

            On the information and institutional lack in the developing world, I agree and I would like to add another point – namely the fact is that the demand for our Birrs and Nakfas etc is basically negligible outside our borders. So given those two factors, bad domestic inflation in the local currency would be the expected default outcome.

            That is why I wanted to make this discussion about the “developed” economies. It was in response to Saay’s comment that there appears to be western fatigue to financing developing country projects.

            But I am specifically questioning in a case like the US why the government must borrow when it can print. As you say, the dangers of inflation are well known, and by now I imagine there is sufficient information and policy infrastructure to address it should it start to trend “bigly”. So with that, why should the government borrow when it can print money?

            I just think it is needless hardship when there are so many well known and economically viable ways to put people to work and stimulate additional demand in the economy. Plus, growth in demand among the developed should be good for us po’ folks – no?

            I don’t think China is printing money, and the Saudis have started borrowing, so I have to assume there is some accepted dogma among governments and central bankers about governments having to borrow instead of printing money. But it is not so obvious to us mere mortals.

            Amde

          • saay7

            Selam Amde:

            I am pretty sure at some point you are going to say “just kidding!”:)

            The holy grail of any government is: full employment, rising incomes. To mix metaphors, the top rung to get there is price stability: a reasonable expectation that what u pay for X today–labor, capital, bananas–tomorrow will be reasonable similar to what you pay today. That’s controlled inflation. And the Fastest way to create inflation is by printing money.

            Now, why developed nations like the US have better results in controlling inflation when they “print money” is because, unlike us Africans, increasing money supply doesn’t mean “printing money.” It is rather a change in the interest rates, and reserve requirements for the hierarchy of banks. We simply have no similar sophistication in Africa: if u want to increase money supply, you print more; and if you want to decrease it, you change your notes and force people to surrender or forfeit the value of their money.

            I I am not saying that monetary policy is the only cause of inflation. I am arguing that it is the primary one. The other reason that African governments take loans instead of printing money is because their money is worthless for the projects they wish to undertake. Amdeville cannot use it local currency (ambirr) to buy tractors and fuel and grading machines now can it?:)

            saay

          • Hayat Adem

            Dear Amde,
            Printing or borrowing?
            This is a complex and dark world which I myself am novice in.. but i think the issues have to do with many monetary manipulations and effects such as money growth, money shortage, money velocity and money more. Whatever you do, inflation is a monster to watch. Some amount of inflation is needed, like some amount of unemployment is for the health of the market. it is is a thin rope walk. I think 2% inflation is taken as an ideal for the developed economies. Because, the reverse effect (deflation) becomes a monster, too.I think both actions have a tendency of creating an artificial value but on the opposing sides. printing is an act of supply (also money growth), and borrowing is an act of demand (also called money velocity). Money printing is creating a new money (physically) that feeds on an old money. Borrowing is also a new money (conceptually, not physically) that inflates the value of the old money. When you want to help the economic system from within (conceptually) in a market way, you borrow money. When you want to attack the economic system from outside (conceptually) in a non-market way, you print money.

          • Dis Donc

            Dear Amde,

            Please first choose an economic theory and gov’t type before you make your case. I will take a time out to answer your questions. I have seen many fringe theories but they do not mention their economic theory and gov’t style. Please be very careful! If you are grown-up you would know what I mean.

            I do not want to be authoritative but let me clear somethings about me. After working for an energy company (well done Nitric) as a minority holder for 5 years I became a majority holder. My company were later to be purchased by an international firm with me being negotiated as a member of a management team. In return I was to study law, finance, and accounting. Currently I am a non-practicing corporate lawyer (from London School of Economics) and a CPA (from Keller Graduate School of Business Management currently bought by DeVry.)

          • Amde

            Selam DisDonc,

            Aha.. I suspected this might bring you in.

            I am not an economist AND I am an anonymous poster on the internet. So that would be two strikes against me. So you may choose to be as gentle or as rough as you like.

            My question on “why borrow when you can print ” has been nagging at me for a while. In any case, if you need a “theory” I am currently interested in, I am starting to look into what they are calling Modern Monetary Theory.

            I am sure I am butchering it, but they start off by saying that a sovereign issuer of a currency can never run out of currency it creates. This is especially true after the whole world got off the gold standard. So government can issue currency to meet its plans/requirements. The role of Taxes is basically as a device to modulate the supply of money in the economy to assure low inflation and high employment.
            In this scenario, the state has a central role in creating and controlling money in the economy, and by default employment and other social goods.

            The current accepted dogma says if government needs money, it borrows and/or taxes. Modulation of inflation vs employment is done through the central bank making the price of money higher or lower. In this scenario, the state is almost incidental. It gives the power of the law to the currency issued by a central bank, and it becomes the largest source of demand for the currency. So government’s power is effectively limited by how much it can tax its citizens.

            Amde

          • Dis Donc

            Dear Amde,
            Sorry for the late reply. I do not want to be too technical and academic on you that is because I am a man-on-the-street as you are. You know that theories are there to either challenge current status or strengthen it. Let me give you why I have a problem with it. If gov’ts have that power to print when they wish and lower taxes at their whims then what is the purpose of having democracy and elections? Because the world will be a despots’ town. Debts and deficits keep gov’ts in check. The second problem I have is with regards to external trade. How do you plan to formulate currency conversion? I mean who is going to regulate the exchange folks? Lastly, sure you fix your Macroeconomic policy, but how are you going to interface it with the micro? Meaning; how are you going to sell/buy basic goods, real estate, etc? And this has many implications in price fixing, gouging, and interest rate….

          • Amde

            Selam DisDonc,

            Hey no problems – my apologies if I was too snarcky.

            I know this issue is considered “settled” and what I am saying is not meant to be worthy of conversation among civilised people. I just feel (underline feel) it is more”settled” more out of ideological and political reason than due to demonstrated superiority. I just would like to hear the perspectives of others if anyone cares.

            I would like to split your first concern into its two components – namely the capability of government, and secondly the morality of the actions of a government.

            The proposal of government printing money a la Modern Monetary Theory is supposed to be within the context of a capitalist economy and a “democratic” political system. Within such a system (the US for example), it is assumed that the government operates via popular consent. So in the US’s case, it would be the case that when Congress is working on the budget for the next year, instead of seeking funding the budget through borrowing money, it would decide to “create” the money it requires for the projects congress collectively deems necessary for the public good.

            Right now, the Federal Reserve is printing money like crazy, but it is just lending it to other banks for practically nothing hoping they will use it to spur economic activity. This is the model being followed by the Bank of England etc… The governments are supposed to be able to borrow this created money and use it. But due to deficit hawks, they are not doing that – at least not to their fullest potential. So in the end we have major banks sitting on free money given to them by the Central Banks. By one estimate, the Bank of England printed/created new money equal to half the UK governments budget in six months. And there is little in economic growth to show for it but perhaps a new round of asset inflation. And anemic economic activity leads to economic anxiety and a frustrated public voting for the right.

            There will be constraints of course to just how much can be printed. Inflation for sure being paramount. It is true this kind of thing can be terribly misused, but the current system has not stopped the US from being engaged in dubious wars (for example), out of which some profit and the average person is left holding a piece of debt and regret. I think your response to that would be that the US indebtedness constrains indefinite warmongering… which is a fair point. Personally, I think the jury is still out on what war the US has opted out of for economic reasons. Remember after 9-11 George Bush told the people to go out shopping… he raised no taxes or asked for sacrifices. Still, I like the way you formulated it.

            Your other points may be secondary. We are just talking about the government printing money and using taxes to manage the money supply. The current system has the central bank printing money and using interest rates to manage money supply. One could supplant the other, but it is likely they will live together. In any case, the other rules of economy would still apply. People would exchange dollars for Yen based on what their international trade needs are. Domestic prices will follow the rules of supply and demand. At least that is how I see it.

            In any case, the power of government will for sure increase with this system, but the morality of its actions will be dependent on other things. The current system of money creation by banks did not evolve as a means to check government. I can appreciate the argument that this happens to be a socially useful utility it has evolved over time.

            Amde

          • Dis Donc

            Dear Amde,
            Let me try another way. Entities (including gov’ts) are defined and evaluated by their financial statements. I don’t know how far you are gone with Acct 101 but financial statements consist of Income statement, Balance sheet (Financial Position), Cash flow statement. and Changes in Equity.

            Balance Sheet has a formula:
            ——— cash (from income & savings) + tangible asset + non-tangible asset – liability – equity = 0
            Income Statement has a formula:
            ———- cash sales + cash (interest, rental, etc) gain – expense – tax = cash profit

            Now, if a gov’t tries to supply its own cash, out of nowhere, then the balance sheet will not square. Putting in cash without changing liability is impossible. Leaving you to fix equity. But that is tantamount to creation of wealth; i.e. discovery of new deposit, stock gain/loss, new design, etc. Hence, money is neither created nor destroyed. But wealth is!

          • Amde

            Selam DisDonc,

            But …

            a) Do you think the 2008 real estate bubble was created by government printing money? I thought it was the Fed that essentially printed money, while the government’s regulatory role was significantly weakened. The banks/financial institutions basically “invested” this Fed created money on products conjured up through financial engineering which meant absolutely nothing for the real economy. Incidentally, I had been hearing the term “financial engineering” and being a trained engineer, I had felt insulted. But the joke was on me – at some point a Masters of Financial Engineering popped up as an interdisciplinary major at the University of Michigan, with the college of engineering as part of it – no less.

            b) On the statement “Entities (including gov’ts) are defined and evaluated by their financial statements”. I can see for someone in the bond market, it makes sense to evaluate the financial risk or reward of competing investments via an equivalent tool, i.e. their financial statements. But I would take exception to using the term “define” you used. Businesses are formed to make profit, But government are not really n that category – they exist for reasons that are completely non-profit related.

            c) Curiously, I agree with your statement: “Now, if a gov’t tries to supply its own cash, out of nowhere, then the balance sheet will not square. Putting in cash without changing liability is impossible. Leaving you to fix equity. But that is tantamount to creation of wealth; i.e. discovery of new deposit, stock gain/loss, new design, etc. Hence, money is neither created nor destroyed. But wealth is!” Well, this sounds like a problem for the balance sheet. Not a problem for the government. As an example, lets take a capital project that everyone agrees is technically feasible, will generate positive cash flows, has numerous social benefits, etc. (Say a GERD with a cooperative Egypt). What is the difference whether this is financed via loans or money the government explicitly created for this project? Keep in mind, if the government goes to lenders, they will probably create the money anyway.

            Amde

          • Dis Donc

            Dear Amde,

            Perdon la tardanza; but I was very busy….

            c) Let us assume that Ethiopia has a western style of gov’t and open economy-for otherwise it does not work. The moment the dam’s potential is discovered, assuming all feasibility studies are performed, then monetizing it begins. Say 6,000 MWH per year for a thirty year loan of a given quantity. If you net profit from each KWH for around $0.25 USD, after repairs, expenses and tax. Then you will have $1.5B USD/year and about roughly $45 B over a thirty year period. You negotiate with an engineering firm to have it build for about $10B USD with an interest of say 3% compound or accrued. Your total loan and interest expense will be roughly about $18B USD. Leaving you with $(45-18)22B USD plus what is left of it after the 30 year. This amount you will print, as it comes in as a foreign currency or local labor. That is an immense amount of net wealth created. Now if you choose to print your own money ($10B USD) instead of borrowing then you are shutting the lenders, lawyers, banks, accountants, etc (legal entities) out of business.

            b) Here I can see that you have some knowledge in accounting. In democratic societies and open economy, entities have equal right in economic participation and that right is to be respected by the law of the land. Legal right! So if you shut the lenders (and all the rest) out then they can sue you with an insurmountable punitive damages.

            The gov’t income statement is called Net Cost and has a formula as
            ————- gross cost – gains – tax collections = deficit/surplus

            a) Let us just focus on real estate. Imagine a house built in 1920s for about $15K; all told material, labor and such. That house has been adding value to this day to be appraised at $850K. The general accounting rule says that houses are to be depreciated (over 50 years) but land is always to be appreciated. Even when the land appreciates but not that much or when the house is still standing. When these people appraise houses I wondered what analysis they had been implementing. The Federal Reserve, like many other central banks, is an independent government agency but also one that is ultimately accountable to the public and the Congress regarding gov’t checks and balances. In the 2008, these two, supposedly, independent entities were working in tandem to look to another way. Gov’t thought the fed will take into account the appraisal and the fed simply printed money; borrowing from the goodwill of locations and land appreciation. It was only a matter of time before …. Sadly ordinary folks never even considered the fact that these prices would ever relent but they did and all that is left is now; debt and regrets!!!

            I tried to compress but, as you can see, to no avail.

          • saay7

            Selam Dis Donc:

            You said “putting in cash without changing liability is impossible.” Actually, it is very possible and happens every day. Here’s how:

            Cash is an asset, but it is only one form of asset. The biggest ones will be accounts receivable, and other long term assets. Suppose you owe me 10,000 and you made a payment of 2,000. All my transactions (on my book) will be on the asset side without impacting my liability side: I will debit cash (asset) and credit accounts receivable (asset.) So while it is true that every accounting entry is double, it is debit/credit and not assets/liabilities.

            This being the case, that all accounting is interested in is balancing debits and credits and not assets and liabilites (because assets and liabilities equaling means zero equity), the government can create any accounting gimmickry to deal with the influx of cash. It can call it, for example, Debit Cash, Credit New Cash. Presto, magic.

            With that out of the way, back to Amde: please google “Does the Fed Print Money” because you are not believing me when I say it doesn’t:) It just moves a bunch of levers–reserve rates and interest rates–to increase liquidity and decrease it. These levers are not available to us in the Third World since we don’t have hierarchy of banks and are not incentivized to save or borrow based on bank’s interest rates. We don’t even trust our banks:) Back in 1999-2000, one of my tasks was to convince Eritrean hyper-nationalists to depost money in Eritrean banks. It was a catastrophic failure because of one overriding reality: even the most flag-waving, Awet nHafash Eritreans know that they may trust Eritrea with the lives of their little brother, but not with their money.

            In the New Yorker interview, our Chief Financial Officer, Hagos Kisha, says that the reason Eritrea never publishes a budget is because it fears being sabotaged by our enemies:))

            saay

          • Dis Donc

            Dear Amde and SJG,
            It pains me to chime in but let me do so. SGJ, you are almost there but its is actually the other way around. That is to avoid inflation and market meltdown. The theory goes as follows for an open economy (not a closed economy!):

            To stimulate an economy you want to make sure that an average Joe has enough cash to spend. To do so you lower the borrowing interest rate so that folks can borrow money from local banks and spend it in opening businesses, leisure, etc. But this will eventually create an overheating economy in which excess money availability leading to inflation. This is when you increase the borrowing rate. Meaning you take money out of peoples’ wallet.

            So where is the money printing gets in? Remember when gov’t lends money it has interest rate. When these loans (bonds, notes, receivables, stocks, etc) mature gov’t collects principal plus interest. Wealth is created from the interest and this is what they will print.

            PS: when I say an open economy, I mean western style of economy with Adam Smith being the father of it….

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Amde and Saay,

            It is truly depressing to witness how the Progressive movements in the advanced economies have been completely decimated within a span of a year. What is even more astounding is how Center-Right parties managed to successfully coopt populist movements as their own. I mean populism is the agitation of the masses against the greedy capitalists therefore what Progressives stand for. But here we are in a bizarre world of TEGELABITYOSH that we live in, a ‘poor man’s billionaire’ has assumed the role the ‘messiah’ to liberate the poor.

            It was painful to watch Mrs. Clinton drag her feet to a $15/HR minimum wage after being forced by Bernie Sanders, which adjusted for inflation, minimum wages have not changed since the 70s. Considered too toxic, President Obama could not touch ‘Income redistribution’ with an 8’ pole during his 2012 State of the Union address. These are the leaders who are supposed to represent the interest of the working-class people and all they offer is solutions on the margins.

            But mostly, the blame for the current quagmire that Progressives find themselves goes to the vanilla center-left parties of the 90s A.K.A Bill Clinton and Tony Blair who utterly failed to undo the damage done by Reagan and Thatcher who the former wanted to downsize government so small that you can drown it in a bathtub while later waged a merciless war on the Unions. Instead of correcting the wrongs of the 80s, Clinton and Blair continue the onslaught of deregulation and regressive tax policies that have concentrated wealth in the hands of few.

          • Amde

            Selam Yoty,

            What is your take on the impact of immigrants (aka the “other”) on popular anger tilting rightward or leftward? If there was no “problem” of immigrants as easy scapegoats, my bet is we would see a slew of lefty trends.

            I really think in a way the democrats were way out demagogued on what happened in 2008. That was powerful the people vs capital moment, and yet it created the Tea Party which ended up supporting the party of capital. Weird.

            I don’t know about Europe but the progressives all over have been spending too much time focused on “minority” issues while there are festering economic issues with the dominant/majority culture, then this trend is going to continue.

            This whole idea of government spending money on behalf of its citizens I was alluding to with Saay is a casualty of the right hijacking popular anger. In 2009, when Obama came in after the collapse of 2008, one of the big things he suggested was an economic stimulus. I remember distinctly at the time, Paul Krugman a Princeton economist, New York Times columnist and later a Nobel Prize winner, suggesting a $1.6 Trillion stimulus, and the right getting all apoplectic about it. People have been indoctrinated to think that a government’s budget should be just like “the family budget”, when it is not necessarily the case. In any case, the deficit scolds (as he called them) prevailed to cut this stimulus amount by half to about $700B. Krugman at the time was saying that it would result in economic rebound that would be OK but not spectacular. When he saw the $700B number, I believe he said it was economically workable but politically disastrous – namely, it would get the job of a recovery done but its impact would not be large enough to give it the credit it deserves. And in fact, that is exactly what you can say about the Obama economy, where the data objectively shows that the overall numbers are good and steadily getting better, but people subjectively couldn’t feel it and so they signed on to the more pessimistic outlooks resulting in a Trump. Economics may be a dismal science, but Krugman has been anything but dim to me ever since.

            Krugman, in one of his other essays, also asked why western Europe generally was more conducive to liberal and progressive views compared to the US, and his conclusion was that Race in the US was the determining factor. Namely, the white poor and working class consistently vote against their economic interests since they believe the black and latinos would be gaining an unfair advantage. It might be that the same dynamic may have taken hold with the influx of immigration in Europe. Horizon’s note about the Swiss voters voting down guaranteed basic income since it might be an undesired immigrant magnet is quite illustrative.

            Amde

          • Yoty Topy

            Dear Amde,

            I remember watching a person who voted for Brexit being interviewed on Sky News, which I found very illuminating in parsing the nuances of these trends. The interviewer asked the gentleman, ‘If the UK leaves the EU, it will have no access to the single market. Some say that this will have a severe impact on economic growth. What do you say to that?’ Normally, people are always cautious when economic consequences are thrown at them but this gentleman without a hint of hesitancy replied’ I am okay if we are slightly poorer if it means we have our country back.’ Of course, he was too politely to say it but what he was getting at was that he doesn’t want those ‘foreigners’ which you were alluding to. This pretty much sums up what I think of this phenomenal is: a revulsion of multiculturalism which I think explains better than racism even though a subset of them are probably racist.

            For all the talk about poor white working class people being left behind, the exit polls in the US election showed that people who earn more than $52K/Year voted in mass for DJT while a high proportion of the electorate earning under $52K/Year voted for Mrs. Clinton contravening the popular narrative that poor, working class whites provided the support for DJT.

            What the Brexit and the DJT phenomenal tells us is that it has never been about ‘the left behind’ but rather an overwhelming rejection of an ever-encroaching brown culture by Anglo-Saxons.

            I think you are right that President Obama missed an ‘FDR’ moment to reorganize the economy significantly. It was a once in a life time opportunity to correct the ills of excess capitalism but I doubt that given his historic candidacy , he was the right person to do it. I think it would have required a person with a lot of grit and immense bureaucratic skills.

            My take on your question whether progressives spent too much talking about ‘minority issues’ instead of economic issue is that I think those are not mutually exclusive. In addition to advocating for the rights of minorities they have campaigned for income inequalities, affordable healthcare, student debt reduction, infrastructure rejuvenation etc. What is lacking is bold and visionary leaders who can inspire the public. You can’t get any more Wall street than Chuck Schumer who is the minority leader. Progressives pretty much controlled both chambers through the 80s since WWII. With the right agenda and leadership, I think it can happen in the US too.

            I am glad you mentioned the failed Switzerland guaranteed income ballot Horizon alluded too. First, I am sad to hear it did not pass but hopefully it resurfaces with a remedy for the concerns raised. In my opinion this was the best progressive initiative of this century. Trust the Swizz to come up with this brilliant idea. Jobs are never coming back despite all the rhetoric about bringing jobs back. Comparative Advantage and automation mean that there will be fewer and fewer jobs in Western economies. Yet, overall, world GDP has consistently climbed apart from 2009. In the US, all this wealth is being increasingly concentrated in the hands of few while millions live on meager incomes. Since we have already established that jobs are never coming back, then the question is who has the vision and guts who can take on this issue by the horn?

          • Amde

            Selam Yoty,

            Well said. I completely concur that Obama was not the right person for the post 2008 economy and I suspect even he himself would probably admit that. It is funny that it took FDR, a patrician from a family of wealth for America to get closest to socialism, or a southerner like LBJ to get the most consequential civil rights and liberal laws.passed.

            The whole question of what the developing world (let alone in the dysfunctional horn) will do in a world of jobs reduction is a big problem which nobody that I now of is even mentioning. But I don’t blame them. Essentially it is a problem for a generation or two down the road.

            The way I see it, the issue boils down to demand. The model so far has been for the developing world to supply the demand created by disposable income in the west, so the problem is really global. People with no income cannot be consumers and so have zero demand, but physically they exist with physical needs. The tool to transform physical needs to economic demand has historically been credit, with the assumption that at some point, the physically needy guy transforms into the economically demanding guy via a job income. This assumption is what is being increasingly tested. Many countries have transformed themselves by export led economic policies, the underlying basis being growing and seemingly insatiable demand in the west.

            The basic income idea puts some floor into the size of western demand, so hopefully the poorer countries can still sell their commodities and what not. But whether they can institute a basic income formula of their own is iffy. Most basic income discussions are based around its sustainability with respect to the ability of the economy to support it through taxation. That may be due to the aversion to the “printing money” idea, In any case, I don’t know how poorer countries can implement a meaningful basic income of their own. It’s probably not a bad topic for reasearch.

            Amde

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Yoty Topy,

            You have a good picture on the trend of global economy and its future ramification to the well being of the developing nations in particular and the entire world in general. Your assessement on the US election politics also gives more sense when you say that it was a “revulsion of multiculturalism than racism ” despite both of them are mutually inclusive in the determination of the outcome of the election. I love your analysis.

            Regards,
            Amanuel Hidrat

        • Yoty Topy

          Hi Amde and Gash Saleh J,

          A 70% threshold is quiet beyond the point of no return. Meaning that at this point , the cost of sabotage underweights benefits of doing nothing.(I hope I am making sense.) Delaying tactics , such as using the threat described in this article might help in the short term but that’s myopic and not a smart policy over the long term should it (Ethiopia) somehow manages to complete it , it will amount to biting the hand that feeds it.

          I thought Al Sis dealt with this issue in a pragmatic and decisive manner after he got rid of Morsi. It beats me why this issue has flared up again. Eritrea Hoy!

          No nation’s stars have fallen like that of Egypt’s since 2008. America lost its ‘police of the world’ status ; Greece is no longer viewed the highly romanticized birth place of Democracy; The EU is now the ‘sick man’ of Europe; but the leader of the Arab world Egypt has come out limping like a wounded gazelle,almost being reduced to a tin-pot African country with an authocrat general shepherding it.

          Given this bruised ego the Egyptians are nursing , it is no surprise that they would look to the Nile to galvanize themselves in a nationalist fervent.

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Yoty Topy,
            .
            There is a lot of changes taking place. You have listed some of them. I wonder, if your crystal ball is clear enough to project on the likely road it will take on the specific appearance of Donald Trump to this complex equation. I hope you can narrow your focus only as it relates to Ethiopia and its neighbors.
            .
            Mr. K.H

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Kim Hannah,

            My guess is probably as good as yours when it comes to the ramifications of Donald’s election to our region. It is just difficult to know what this man is capable or not . Do you even think he knows our region?:)

          • Amde

            Yoty, Kim Hanna

            Word is that some of Ivanka Trump’s shoes are being manufactured in Ethiopia now. It came in via that huge Chinese shoe company that opened up a factory recently (forgot its name), but there will be many poor abesha sheep and cattle who will be sporting the Trump name on their skin. Talk about an unfortunate second act.

            Does “The Donald” know? I believe the word is that he thinks the Ivanka shoes are tremendous, and maybe that is good enough for now. Perhaps this is a topic of discussion if or when PMHD calls Trump to congratulate him.

            PMHD: “Mr. Trump, I wanted to congratulate you on your victory.”
            DT: “Why thank you – you are tremendous for congratulating me.”
            DT:” Who are you and Where are you calling from again?”
            PMHD: “I am Ethiopian Prime Minster Hailemariam Dessalegn, I am calling you from sunny Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.”
            DT: “Ethiopia, eh? Where have I heard that name.?”
            PMHD: “Oh we are a great American ally in East Africa.”
            DT: “Yeah..? I don’t know.. not ringing a bell…”
            PMHD: (Furious discussion from PMHD’s side… “awo.. belew.. min chegereh.. “)
            PMHD: “Yes, we also manufacture Ivanka Trump’s new line of fabulous shoes. They are tremendous”
            DT: “Ah.. that’s where I heard it..”
            PMHD: “Absolutely. My lovely wife loves those shoes. As well as my wonderful daughter who is a doctor, and my other wonderful daughter who is an engineer. They all have multiple pairs.”
            DT: “That’s yuuge. I’m gonna tell Ivanka. Thank you”

            Amde

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam Amde,

          GERD is one of the bold diplomatic wrangle of PM Meles with Egypt, for which he did successfully put forward to change the economic hardship of the country. Another diplomatic fight I saw him debating at the AU was against the move of the new building project, a fully funded by the Chinese government as a gift to AU (worth 200M US dollar), to South Africa in remembrance of Mandela. He gave his own reasons to remain in Ethiopia and won the argument. So the GERD is a done deal. What I wasn ‘t aware about it that it is solely funded by Ethiopia. It is a gutsy project the Ethiopians to be proud of.

          Regards

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Amanuel Hidrat,
            .
            Thanks for the compliment of PMMZ on his vision/result productiveness. His explanation to the Parliament at the time was that GERD had to be built with our own Engineers and our own resources, not only out of necessity but to dispel the mantra so that it cannot be used again on our future projects. If we can build the biggest Dam in Africa, smaller dams in the future would not attract too much negative attention.
            .
            He was also brilliant arguing the case of the AU headquarters. M. Kaddafi was the one attempting to bribe his way through in moving the AU to his home town in Libya at the time. PMMZ, used the images of Haile Selassie and Mengistu towards Africa with a dexterity of a tongue only he can posses, to persuade them to keep it in Addis.
            .
            Mr. K.H

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Ethiopians,

            Congratulations on building of GERD and it’s massive potential for your country and the region. With good next government, I am sure Eritrea will be a huge beneficiary of this venture with it’s bustling tourism industry (the number one tourist destination, not the nonsense old European women but Africans specially honeymoon destination for the newly wed).

            What I like suggest is, I am sure it’s in the plan and they already have thought about it, with every power transmission lines they build they should include Fiber Optics run as well. There will be so much demand for high speed Internet and Data in Africa / Continent and I think as Ethiopia supply power to the region and it will also supply high speed Internet Data.

            But this infrastructure should at all times both power and internet cables with public authority. Under no circumstances that you should privatize and sell this infrastructure.

            Other countries with their fake printing machine will tell you, here is the money we will buy it from you at a profit than it costed you (some greedy politicians will actually agree with this). Then once they have control they will charge you rent for the rest of your lives.

            just a thought ….but they have to be prepared to open the gates of Internet to the mass…

            Berhe

          • Amde

            Selam Berhe,

            What a great idea. I don’t know if they have considered it or not, but if the project pans out with the expected power output, there will be excess power for years that will drive significant physical infrastructure of power lines etc so this seems like an excellent opportunity to piggy back.

            Amde

          • Dis Donc

            Dear Amde, Berhe,

            Berhe: the optic fiber idea will not work because of electromagnetic interference. In lay man’s terms; If you have an optic fiber along with high tension wire then information signals in the optic fiber will be destroyed and you will see distorted pictures on your TV.

            Amde: If you look closer the coaxial cables are hanged a lot lower than the electrical wires (not even high tension). This is done so to avoid electromagnetic interference. Coaxial cables are insulated with aluminum foil, even that is not enough to protect them. Fiber optics are even very sensitives because the signal are carried by photons (light) unlike coax in which the carriers are electrons. And light can be affected by the presence of other light let alone a strong electromagnetic waves. Hence you need to shield the optics cables from exposure but that is very expensive. Thus, that is why they are buried!!!!

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Disc Don,

            Thank you. I wasn’t actually thinking about implementation side of things and I am sure proper study needs to happen. And I wasn’t referring that the fiber cables are run beside the transmission lines.

            My suggestion was, me thinking in simple way….the largest cost of the project is setting beside building the dam, setting up generation station, distribution stations as well as transmission lines.

            And in the end this power needs to go to the public for consumption.

            So what is the cost of piggy back fiber and laying dark fiber in the grown, along the same path where this infrastructure was going to happen any way. My thinking was, they need to allocate and clear space for the transmission lines, dig holes, tunnel mountains, build highways etc… so why not add dark fiber along the path..Dig a hole and torpedo the fiber along the way….

            The services stations needs to be equipped with people who maintain the power system and along the way provide the same service on the data lines. If one has to suggest to do this for the fiber for the data usage only, then I can see why the cost is not feasible.

            Also with cheap electricity, I can see that the country has huge advantage and potential in building data centers, where the cost of electrically is the driving factor.

            So I think it makes sense.

            BTW, I didn’t really come up with this idea, i was just relaying what I heard…I worked on building data centers for few years now, for few of the large Telecos in Canada (saay, all my life experience revolves around Canada eh,)……and what it occurred to me, every time we need a fiber run to the data center, we had to get the power company (Hydro One it’s called in Ontario) to tap the dark fiber to and the Teleco lay the last mile. It doesn’t matter which Teleco but always Hydro one seem to have ownership of the fiber. So one day, I was meeting with the guy from Hydro and I asked him, what’s the relation ship with Hydro company and Fiber (Data) where I don’t know and I am not aware that Hydro is in the internet business, how come it owns all the dark fiber.

            He said to me, my friend, it’s because we had one smart engineer who saw what’s coming back in the 80s I think.

            When Hydro was expanding it’s power generation, distribution and was building, expanding the transmission lines, it made sure to lay the dark fiber along the way. So where there is power, there is also fiber. Off course it was obvious to me that the fiber was buried so I didn’t ask the details. Now that the Internet has expanded and it become a huge business for the Teleco’s it make sense for them to use our fiber rather than build their own (it make economic sense).

            Berhe

          • Dis Donc

            Dear Berhe,
            Very good observation! Good idea! Wouldn’t it? You’re looking at limitless bandwidth, secure and scale-able, can be managed and control your network; with cable, phone, and internet bundled together! There is a nugget to it; ownership defines security. If they are public owned and can be found easily then with little knowledge someone can hack into it.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear DD,

            I appreciate your input and tremendous knowledge in the area. Here again, this was just a side note on the discussion of GERD and it’s potential.

            When I said public, I do not mean it will be public as in free for public use. What I meant was, it should be considered an essential service to the country and it should be owned by the government / public agency. For example, as in Ethiopian airlines, managed, operated, etc for profit but for the public (Ethiopian people) benefit. Not some investor in the US or Europe who owns the company and the public space (infrastructure) and can make it to the Forbes magazine. So it can be a subsidiary of Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Telecom, Ethiopian Power Generation, or what ever is appropriate.

            As to the security, I don’t think it will be any less secure that the current infrastructure that are out there. It has huge potential in earning income and I don’t see why it can’t see why it shouldn’t be operated with people (qualified) and products (best of breed) technology. I know a thing or two about security, network and infrastructure but it will NOT be any less secure than that’s currently in operation in Ethiopia and other parts of the world. The good thing is, I read some where AAU have started masters program in IT and this can be the incubator and development of talented people who will operate this venture.

            Berhe

          • Dis Donc

            Dear Berhe,
            Let me be clear here when I say security. Light travels in a straight line and if you find the fiber and bend it the light reflects and diffracts. The reflected keeps on moving while the diffracted escapes the wave-guide (the material in which the light travels is called wave-guide). You can easily analyze these diffracted light because each color contains a specific wavelength or frequency. Making it easy to decipher. All the other conventional methods do not diffract (electrons) and if you can get the signals (somehow) you still need the protocols to decipher the data. That is why fibers are restricted only to cable and internet. Telephone brings huge liability on providers.

            Side note: the soviets used to spy on NATO successfully during the cold war. That was because the fiber connecting North America with Europe passes through the Atlantic ocean.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear DD,

            Thank you for the reply. From economic point of view, I was thinking more on the Data, which is primary Internet and Cable. Telephone has become cheap already with the introduction of many VoIP services and including freeware PBX software.

            Everything data has a level of security that needs to have risk associated with. In the typical case that I pointed it out, the end users are consumer who need high speed internet access so they can take advantage of what the internet to offer.

            So users in Sudan or Ethiopia would they be better protected (secure) if they use the fiber optic and the Ethiopian Telco as the gateway vs whatever they are doing right now? My guess is NO, there is nothing the differentiate the current internet line that comes to Ethiopia via the fiber or the satellite? So I do not see a huge difference to the average consumer or even companies who need fast internet access.

            There is some VPN technology that can also be applied to encrypt data where it becomes difficult to break.

            But would state secret and other high sensitive data use this link then, it depends the level of risk the data owners are willing to take.

            But if one is afraid from NSA and the Russian spies, or the Chinese security experts, then all this becomes a mute point, as they will always some sort of back door to monitor / access.

            But again, if one uses their ISP for a service, one is not necessary safe as has been the case with Snowdon leaks.. The US was spying at the highest level on Germany, Brazil etc..

            Berhe

    • Dear Amde,

      I have to admit that I really do not understand how the professor came to this conclusion, ethiopia becoming a food-exporting country in a situation of a worldwide drought. Climate change in our case means less rainfall rather than excess rainfall and floods, which in turn means dry rivers and low water levels behind the dams. How could ethiopia experience increased water accessibility in this situation of climate change. There must be something I have not understood.

      • Amde

        Selam Horizon,

        I was going to post the link but felt it would be a futile exercise given Awate.com’s recent militancy against links. I think if you copy the quote and google it you will find it.

        In any case, that is one of the reasons they changed the terminology from global warming to climate change. Everyone will see climate change but the effect would be different in different places. One effect for example is if the Gulf Stream stops due to too much melted ice there will be a new ice age affecting Ireland, Britain and northern Europe.

        According to this research, the effect in Ethiopia is on the amount of precipitation. Who knows what it will do to other things like unknown diseases affecting people animals or plants, crops strains not being able to adapt to new climate, significant migration of lowland migrant peoples like the Somali and Afar being forced to move to the highland etc etc..

        Amde

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam AT & Awatistas,

    Hybridism in politics is becoming more popular not only in the function of states and governments, but also in the strategem of wars and in the rule of engagement of geopolitical wars. The researched paper by Andrew korybko “the law of hybrid wars”and this Editorial of AT explains the nature of hybrid strategem and hybrid geopolitical wars in the horn of Africa. Korybko termed the transnational connected conflict within transit-states as “Hybrid wars” and the strategem as “global hybrid strategy ” a new phenomenon in the geopolitical global wars.

    Regards

  • stewie

    Hi all,

    The worst thing Isaias can do is give egypt a military base in eritrea (unlikely because egypt is effectively bankrupt without the saudis and Issais is not suicidal). For ethiopia that will be too close for comfort and it will most likely change ethiopia’s political and military calculus, (Off we go to war again)….Maybe thats not such a bad thing!! If Isaias think the arabs will come to his aid, he is dreaming…

    Isaias Afwerki has a remarkable quality of being wrong all the time….

  • Ismail AA

    Ahlen AT,

    This is enlightening situation report about the propaganda-cum-diplomacy tag of war the construction of what the Ethiopians call Renaissance Dam on the Nile River. Realpolitik renders military confrontation over the dam between Ethiopia and Egypt very remote possibility because both sides understand the futility of the venture.

    This being the case, thus, the two governments will have to settle down the political, economic and demographic realities that initiated the still working arrangement more than half a century ago cannot address the needs and interests of today. Aside from the mutual sabre-rattling for internal public relations consumption, the parties to the dispute know that only focused diplomacy with win-win as endgame target is the safest option. For instance, what Egypt loses in flow of water could be compensated by getting cheap electricity which the dam is earmarked to generate. This will save water that produces energy at the Aswan Dam for other purposes such as irrigation.
    regards

    • stewie

      Hi Ismail,
      you are missing arabs supremacist thinking (and its manifestation as radical Islamism)…special over Africans.

      • Berhe Y

        Dear Stewie,

        Let’s assume and agree with you that they have supremacist thinking over Africans…

        Can you give us some concrete example where this thinking has manifested it self as radicalization in part of Africa that we can learn from? Aside from the fear mongering I mean..

        Berhe

        • stewie

          hi
          How about everything that is happening to eritreans in arab hand…

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Stewie,

            If you are using the example of ISIS and what it did to the Eritreans/ Ethiopians then I can understand why…but it’s completely different issue which has nothing to do with what we are discussing. ISIS has killed and damaged a lot of Muslims that it did to others religion….

            But the root cause of the hardship Eritreans are going through today, it’s because they have a barbaric government that doesn’t allow them to live in their own country peacefully.

            kab seb zdeli kem saEni ybeli….Sure depending where Eritrean settle in the world and become unwelcome guest then, it’s hard to demand they should be treated better.

            I have never lived in Arab countries but I don’t think their experience is any different (worst) than any other countries with relative development / society is.

            For example, are Eritreans being treated worst in S. Arabia vs Israel? I think those in S. Arabia probably have it better…that’s my guess.

            Berhe

          • stewie

            Hi berhe

            That is false equivalency and you know it. Eritreans are being singled out for rape and murder because they are black and not muslim.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam stewie,

            You will end up your life blaming alien nations if you continue (Hamen) with same rotten mentality.

            In syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libia and Egypt innocent people are dying daily; of course, according to your logic they are black and none Muslims. Are you to such an extent superficial? I suspect you are an Eritrea.

          • stewie

            Hi hameed,
            You can try to cover it up all you want, but the ugly truth is there for everyone to witness.

            No arab muslim woman is being held as a slave in syria, Iraq, Yemen,Libya….

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam stweie,

            It is very sad to tell that you suffer from inferiority complex. Whenever you see a blonde hair you feel ashamed, is that right? My friend, you have a God given colour, you should be proud of. You should understand very well that you are not manufactured and labeled by Arabs or Westerners. It is better cure yourself from inferiority complex, try to get assistance from medical doctors.

            Isaias experiences forced labour (slave labour), rapes, kills, imprisons, confiscates all rights (enslaves) from Eritrean youth, because they are black and Muslims, this is equivalent to your logic.

            Al-Arabi

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Hameed,

            Are you sure it is him who suffers from inferiority complex?

            Look in the mirror, make sure there is enough light, what do you see?

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Simon kaleab,

            Certainly the lash reached you. I think you suffer from same ailment (inferiority complex). Catch up with yourself, guy, and visit medical doctor.

            Al-Arabi

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Hameed,

            You have not answered my question.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Simon Kaleab,

            Are things commingled on you? Visit a psychiatrist to treat your inferiority-complex and similar ailments before it is to late. Don’t waste your time, hurry up, MAN. Awate forum can’t solve your problem. You have to comprehend, doctors depend on your feedback (WORDS) to treat you. Have you get it, Mr. Shitara Aboshawil?

            Al-Arabi

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Hameed,

            Are you a psychiatrist? Can you do a self-diagnosis?

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Simon Kaleab,

            A very very small mind thinks to possess fundamentals of a certain field you should be an expert. unfortunately he didn’t hear about common knowledge. Knowing some primary symptoms doesn’t make a person an expert in the field. For instance, you are not a political science graduate or an expert in Eritrean and the region history, but you discuss issues bigger than your intellect. Of course, this is not a problem, but the problem is when you think you know everything and pass your distorted verdicts. Have you got it, Mr. Zanga-Zanga Aboshawil?

            Al-Arabi

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Hameed,

            In what area are you an expert other than writing mumbo jumbo?

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Simon Kaleab,

            I am an expert in reading your tiny mind that claim beyond its intellect capacity, isn’t this enough field? It seems you are curtailed to your right size.

            Al-Arabi

          • Simon Kaleab

            Are you also an expert in crystal ball gazing?

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Simon Kaleab,

            This is exactly what happened to you at some point of time when for the first time dropped and unpacked you in DC. speak frankly don’t shy, inferiority-complex ridden guy.

            Al-Arabi

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Stewie,

            Which country are you refereeing to?

            I am trying to take seriesly and engage you, but you don’t seem to have substance to supports your arguement.

            Berhe

          • stewie

            Hi again,
            Of Course you know which countries I am referring too egypt,sudan, libya to all gulf countries were eritreans and ethiopians are treated worse than slaves. There is no denial or covering up this atrocity by arab muslims, that is happening as we speak.

            Not to mention, there is a strong legacy of racism against Africans from early Islam
            because the language, traditions and customs of the Arabs supports the
            down grading of the African race. There is the example in the hadith in which an Ethiopian woman laments
            her racial inferiority to Muhammad, who consoles her by saying, “In
            Paradise, the whiteness of the Ethiopian will be seen over the stretch
            of a thousand years.” Another hadith quotes Muhammad thus: “Do not bring black into your
            pedigree.” In fact, the Arabic word for slave, “Abd,” became equated
            with Africans and Blacks with the advent of Islam.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Stewie,

            You are not going to see me the Arab countries human rights record and some of the people ignorance over race.

            But this argument has nothing to do with what we started with, which is the demand of Arabic as ERITREAN official language.

            What this got to do with us, if some Arab countries and some Arab feel towards Africans. How did the British, the French, the Americans, the South Africans felt about black peoples in the past, yet does it stop us from using their language, working and dealing with them.

            I don’t agree what some of them do to Eritreans , Africans, Asians (Indian, Bangladesh, Pakistani or Philipns) but the bottom line is, we went to them and they didn’t come to us.

            So as we say I’m Tigrinya

            Wey zbeluKa giberelom wet Adom gidefelom.

            Berhe

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Stewie,

            A very reasoned, thoughtful answer to an unreasonable, thoughtless individual, but hey, at least you tried.

  • MILLENIUMGAMES

    Do you have any problem with Eritrea=and Eritrea is not responsible for you bcs you belong Agumish ppl.Deci,va rugam au vedere buna de ele Ugimish!!

  • MILLENIUMGAMES

    Why you so angary of ERitrea you two Salihat?

  • MILLENIUMGAMES

    Who this Aumush Jeberti is?the few Deqala are none but a bich one.

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