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Nile Politics: Egypt’s Kiss Of Death

Sudan in 1865 as shown in Rafai’ i book ( Isma’il’s Era

Introduction: it is now obvious that the tyrant in Eritrea has entered a stage of confusion and hallucination that every dictator succumbs to at one time or another, when he finds all the roads and options to his project faltering and hitting dead-end closed road. Take, for instance, the interview conducted by the Qatari reporter “Ahmed Ali”. The reporter asked him, a few times, questions on matters intimately concerning the country he is, supposedly, presiding over. His response was nothing beyond referring the reporter, for response, to his wealthy benefactor, the one who showers him and his wife with unusual gifts, his highness the Prime Minister of Qatar. It seems that he is now hallucinating and fantasizing and visualizing himself a grand waali by deputation from the Sublime Porte in Doha, Qatar.

Another indication to the dictator’s fog shrouded state of mind is the convention of the so called periodic gathering of his envoys to the Arab world which took place in Cairo, Egypt, recently. According to a firm and indelible diplomatic tradition, the gathering shouldn’t have been held except inside Eritrea, but the dictator, weary of the defection of many of his diplomatic staff each time they are summoned to Eritrea, saw overcoming the problem, by ordering the meeting be held in Cairo, the metropolitan of his patron the Pasha of Egypt. In his reckoning, it seems there is no difference between Asmara and Cairo. One is the metropolitan, the other the provincial town.

It is then an open season of illusions for the dictator! He has, hundred times before, passed to the world an image of himself as a man indulged in illusions., But it is the first time that the world is, now enjoying the show in real time, while the man is desperately struggling to solve a tough paradox: Exporting his self inflicted problems somewhere to no place where there is no one. How can you otherwise explain that the Emir of Qatar is now, practically, having a share and a say in the governing of Eritrea? This is seen and evidenced by the dictator boasting of it to the face of a Qatari reporter. How is it that Cairo, magically, became a replacement of Asmara as the dictator has confirmed, and as is evidenced by his ordering of the gathering of his envoys to the Arab world, where they, certainly, feel the Egyptian security agencies’ warm breath on the back of their necks all the time? The implication here is that Eritrea’s Secrets and its foreign policy plans are no Secret to Egypt. Isn’t it proper, then, to say that this, perfectly, fits the definition of the relation “Client-God father” or “Client-Sponsor”?

The same illusions observed in the dictator’s performance were also echoed and repeated in a different form in quarters friendly to the dictator. The idea of dependence of Eritrea on Egypt has took this time a strange and curious turn with further steps ahead of the dictator ( or is it in lockstep with him ), taken by some Egyptian influential circles.

It is this writer’s belief, reading Eritrea’s reality can not be a complete reading unless a version of it is also read in relation to regional factors and influences. In this regard, the story following is told with that objective in mind. Further, this essay portrays and paints through gestures and hints, dangers which Eritrea may face in allying itself with Predatory Egypt.

The Lie

An Egyptian newspaper of wide national and Arab circulation, recently claimed that parts of Eritrea, were parts of Egypt given up to Ethiopia in return for the eternal exclusive use of the waters of the Blue Nile originating in Ethiopia. Parts of Ethiopia, Uganda and the Congo, too, according to an Egyptian researcher, Dr. Heidi Farooq, were Egyptian and that these lands were also given up in exchange of guarantees of the eternal flow of the River without impediment by civil structures unless pre-approved by Egypt.

The details of this claim were published in a five-part-series by the newspaper Al-Masri-Al-Youm, in which an Egyptian researcher of the British and American archives, revealed that she (the researcher) had discovered and acquired documents proving Egyptian claims on the Nile firmly and beyond doubts and making the ownership of the River settled once and for all, from sources to mouth.

The documents-provider claimed further that her documents were original and made available to her, by sources she says she is not at liberty to reveal. The territories in Eritrea claimed to have been in the ownership of Egypt were named as all the territory west of the Bogos land until Kessala,  including Massawa and the entire Eritrean shores on the red sea. The newspaper provided its readers with a few maps of Egypt and its territories: one was as far back as 1450 A.D

Egypt in 1450

After reading the series, this writer found that the whole five-part-series was a farce and mere rhetoric seasoned with semi-technical terms to give weight to the claims and glaze the fallacy. And contrary to the reportage’s initial claim, which in effect sounded like a declaration of the attainment of final and binding documents, the document seemed irrelevant and fell far short of its promises resting its conclusions, instead, at the familiar old agreements which no one country of the Nile riparian nations ever signed; agreements which were signed and endorsed by the British for the British at both ends! These agreements didn’t include any of the Nile riparian countries, even though the agreements themselves were about these countries. These countries were never parties to it, including Egypt to the extent that the Egyptian state, has no officially endorsed copies of these agreements in its archives as the very fact of publication of these documents, as newly discovered,  by the newspaper attests to..

But what should draw our attention most and interest us in all these colorful extravaganza of words is what came in the reportage concerning the unwieldy claims of the owning of parts of Eritrea by Egypt, which, as the claim goes on saying, has bartered it with Ethiopia. A series of questions arise in response to this surreal claim:

Wizardry

Do the reportage’s claims have any valid historical and/or legal value? What purpose are these claims driving at? Is the reportage’s claim about Egyptian lands within Eritrea a tenable argument and why is Eritrea being dragged to this? These and other questions which may develop while discussing the Egyptian arguments will be addressed. Trying to discover the real purposes and aims of this reportage will also be attempted during the course. For this, it seems worthwhile to copy the main highlights of the claim as uttered by the Egyptian expert as came in the newspaper and try responding accordingly.

“Driven by a sweeping desire to serve this country has led us to publish this thorny and branched file, in which documents, maps and other extremely important historical facts are revealed.”

And because the documents that “Al-Masri-Al-Youm” has in possession  uncovers the historical rights of Egypt on the Nile waters, because of these, we are presenting it to the officials as well as to our readers in the hope it may become of help to them in the new war of Agreements waged by the source countries against us and the fraternal country, Sudan.

The newspaper, a little ahead, goes on to say that:

Al-Masry-Alyoum is, exclusively, publishing the original documents of 1929 and 1959 which counselor “Heidi Farooq”, a researcher on the British and American archives, reached to the originals since 2006. In addition, the original political borders agreements which the Egyptian state entered  with the Nile Basin States under the sponsorship of the colonialist Britain and Italy since that time when its name was Kingdom of Egypt and Sudan. The agreements are those of May 15, 1902, agreement of 1900, and the agreement of March 21, 1899 whereby Egypt’s share of the Nile waters set on around 100 billion Cubic Meters at that time, not 55 billions as the current situation, against lands Egypt owned (in source countries ) and now gave-up to source countries.

Heidi Farooq then concludes and by saying:

“In compliance to the principle of respect to inherited colonial borders, the principle upon which the African Unity organization is based and the foundation on which the African States are established, the eternality of political boundaries responds to the farce of the Entebbe Agreement. The comicality of rebelling on this framework necessitates the lack of evidence on whatever comes out of the source countries who Egypt has donated land to, in exchange of water, and these border agreements further respond to the auctioneers who question the rights of the down-stream nations in the river’s waters.”

In a subtitle the paper abridged the expert’s claims thus:

The researcher Heidi Farooq:

The agreement has set 100 million c/m of water aside for Egypt with the approval of Ethiopia, Italy and England in exchange of land owned by Egypt in the source countries.

Objectives

You don’t need to dig down very deep or even read extensively between the lines to see the threat sandwiched in the nicely articulated appeal to law and order in the above mentioned piece of Ms. Farooq. A threat directed not only to the source countries in Africa or the African Union but also to the whole of Africa and its security. But this shouldn’t concern us as much as the explosive claim that parts of Eritrea were Egyptian owned territories given-up in an agreement with Ethiopia against the exclusive use of the waters of the Nile. This should concern us on more than one level. Does it not look, for instance, that counselor Heidi Farooq is implying that Ethiopia’s real problem is not Egypt or the Nile, that is a done deal, your problem, she is saying to Ethiopians, is with Eritrea occupying documented Ethiopian territories with ownership validated by legal documents in the possession of Egypt?

One may say, reasonably, that all these are only hear-say opinions of a newspaper. This may well be, except that in Egypt, every word written or said have to pass through the State’s multilayered filter of censorship; the persistence of the reportage for a length of five parts is only a sign of blessings from above.

The reportage is not published as a space holder covering a lack of ads materials and graphics, that newspaper is a giant player in the publishing business of Egypt, influential and distinguished for its middle of the road adherence in its political commitments and expressions. There is also no chance of ignorance here, as this particular newspaper polarizes the best minds in the Egyptian publishing and journalism industry. The names of the renowned commentator M.H. Haikel , the prolific Fahmy Hweidi and the greatest living Egyptian novelist and historian Khairy Shalabi adorn its pages many times.

A further probability is that the whole reportage is a thread or an element in a whole scheme of crafting and creating a myth around which the Egyptian society may rally given the pathetic level of popular scorn and disapproval the government of Mubarak has managed to fall into. This last reason seems plausible in light of the huge and clear intentional deformation of facts, and fresh disinformation promoted in the reportage, which may, deservedly, rank it and its discourse as a technique of mob indoctrination and control. Counselor Heidi, for instance, tells her readers more than once that Ethiopia lost the battle at Guraa with high casualties. The truth, according to recorded history, including Egyptian sources, is the direct opposite of her assertion. Her historical accounts driven to support the initial claim are all either running to head-on-collusion with facts of history and common sense, or unconscious wishy-washy cast of dreams.

The divide in the Egyptian society concerning the future of the country is deep and serious. The president and certain privileged circles are promoting the ascension of Mubarak’s son to position of President at the demise of the father, effectively fulfilling predictions of the establishment of what an Egyptian journalist defined as the Royal Republic.

There is also the problem of the ongoing struggle between the Christian Coptic minority and the Muslim majority in one side and the traditional struggle between the ruling establishment and political Islam on the other, added to this is the struggle between the state and the Democratic popular forces protesting and demanding Democratic change to be brought about. All these happen against a backdrop of unbalanced economic growth, with only a thin slice of society enjoying and therefore monopolizing the benefits of wealth and income, resulting in bitterness and division. In this atmosphere, open dreams and aspirations of Imperial glory by the elite, seem, reasonably, out of place since this assumes unity of purpose and few ideas and ideals to rally around. The only way to overcome this situation is to create a myth which may comfortably accommodate the ideology of the elite while tickling the public’s emotions and instincts at the same time. From this point onward, it is only a short single step to the worship of the Pharaoh who couldn’t otherwise depend on his personal charisma or the non-existent achievements. The game then becomes like all games of images, not reality. Water conflicts take very long time to develop and escalate, why not then build and nurture its case starting now in the Egyptian national psyche.

The moment of creation of this Holy Grail is captured in a passage a prominent twentieth century man of letters:

Every powerful emotion has its own myth-making tendency. When the emotion is peculiar to an individual, he is considered more or less mad if he gives credence to such myths as he has invented. But when an emotion is collective, as in war, there is no one to correct the myths that naturally arise. Consequently in all time of great collective excitement unfounded rumors obtain wide credence.”

Related to this, is the way this particular newspaper and many other Egyptian information outlets portray the conflict between Egypt and the Upper Nile riparian countries. According to them, Ethiopia and the rest of the source countries are trying to deny and deprive Egypt of the use of the Nile waters on which it has survived from times immemorial. But the truth is that the discourse of the source countries has always been clear and different than what the Egyptians claim them to be saying. Truth is that the Source countries were always consistent in including their plight the inalienable rights of Egypt to sharing and using the Nile, the problem is that  85 % going to Egypt and 14% to Sudan while only %1 assigned for the rest of the eight African riparian countries hardly represents fairness. A new deal which reflects new realities should be established.

The claim by the newspaper and its researcher concerning ownership of territories within Eritrea by Egypt  besides exposing the type of relations prevalent now between Eritrea and Egypt, a relation of a client state and a sponsor, shows the underlying thought of Elitist Egypt of the Eritrean nation as a tool in their kit of waging permanent war on Ethiopia and other Nile riparian countries to keep their aspirations in check lest it contradicts the Egyptian interests in the Nile or the Red Sea..

Cruelty

Most expressive of the subordination of the Eritrean dictatorship to the Egyptian State, is the unforgettable act-play authored by none except the same newspaper “Almasry Al-youm” in which an interview of the dictator’s Ambassador in Egypt by the news-paper was held out of the blue. There was no special occasion for the interview to be conducted, in the sense that there was no new development of common interest took place, which makes it a requirement to hear the word of the Ambassador. There was, however, few weeks before the interview a statement issued by the Human rights chief of the United Nations organization Ms Navi Pillay, in which she called for an independent investigation of the extra judicial killings of Africans in Egypt by official Egyptian security forces. Feeling a little embarrassment, Egyptian authorities decided to dilute their crimes by distributing and sharing it among them and the Eritrean State, thus it was reasonable to them to arrange an interview with the dictator’s ambassador to Egypt in which he exonerates the Egyptians of their crimes of extrajudicial killings and hails it as perfectly legal, going as far as issuing a fake  fatwa legitimizing the murders under the international law and advise for more of the same.

The claim of previous ownership of Eritrean territories by Egypt has one more possible sinister objective: it could be seen as a sowing of seeds of hate that will prevent peace and reconciliation, and provide the fuel of future projected conflicts between Eritrea and Ethiopia which, Egyptians hope, may drive Ethiopia away of the demand for a fair deal on the use of the Nile river. This is like planning pogroms for Eritreans and Ethiopians; the man of letters was not far from the truth when he sealed his comment about myth creation by saying: “This myth-making faculty is often allied with cruelty.”

The Nucleus Of The Lie

Lies, however unreal and imaginary their contents may be, can not be created completely divorced from reality. In fact all lies, for that matter, find their excellence in the degree of perception deformation of reality they cause in the mind of the receptor. Such being the case generally, the question is what is the reality that the expert and the newspaper’s reportage were trying to graft their fallacy on.

To address the above mentioned points, one must take into consideration that the key word in the whole newspaper’s light-handedness depends entirely on the assumption of the Sudan being an integral part of Egypt, a claim besides lacking reality in the current geopolitical arrangement lacks also any historical truth. True:  Egypt conquered and occupied parts of Sudan and Eritrea 1820’s (see map) and the occupation continued until the Madhiah revolution in 1880.  But has occupation and conquest now become an ownership? That is not a good logic even for Egypt which was occupied by the British for longer years than it occupied Sudan and therefore, according to that bad logic, a property of the British Crown; this is a chemistry for building chaos!

The conquest of Sudan and parts of today’s Eritrea was not executed with altruistic intents. In fact it was done, according to Egyptian school text books, with ambitions to control valuable resources of territory, gold and slaves. But a philosoph er and excellent historian of the old “National Party of Egypt” (the ancestor of Hosni Mubarak’s modern day National party), Abdul al-Rahman al-Rafai, reiterated a more dramatic and far strategic motives for the conquest. In one of his fifteen volumes book on the history of the Egyptian national movement, al-Rafai says this in page 175 of the volume tilted “the era of Mohammed Ali”:

It seems to us that the composing of political unity of Egypt, the guaranteeing of its safety, and the securing of the Nile sources were the motives which spurred Mohammed Ali to conquer Sudan. The farsightedness and strong will which this genius has acquired fame for, must have made him perceive that Independence cannot be realized unless Egypt owns the Nile course from source to mouth

Now, don’t forget that controlling the Nile course from source to mouth means the control of the countries en route to these sources, Eritrea included.

In a search of a casus belli in retrograde, and for further justification of the belligerence and conquest Al-Rafai wrote this in page 178 of the same book:

The conquest of Sudan was, therefore, a pure national war, with the noblest and most sublime purposes wars may have: that of establishing of the unity of the Nile valley.

In addition, the Area of Sudan is more than 2 ½ times that of Egypt and it is a quarter of the Area of the continent of Europe. With the conquest of Sudan the Egyptian State extended itself and its authority as three times as it was and reached to within most of its natural borders.

The people of Sudan shouldn’t feel bitter because of this fath (conquest), for wars have been , at many times, the support for National unity; in old times England waged a series of wars on Scotland until it subjugated it, and made it part of the British Kingdom, yet, no one has ever said that England was an aggressor, neither was this war a cause for a separatist movement  among the Scots after annexing the country to  the British homeland to the contrary, the Scots  became, over the years, loyal British citizens and no one of them thinks of separation from their Homeland.

The conquest of Sudan was a messy and bloody business and not an easy one at all; it was like all plundering expeditions that infested the African continent in the eighteenth and nineteenth century: blood dripping hands, big smoking Guns, unnecessary excessive losses and fatalities all in the name of civilization. Helen Chapin editor Of Sudan : A country study says this about the same conquest:

“Initially, the Egyptian occupation of Sudan was disastrous. Under the new government established in 1821, which was known as the Turkiyah or Turkish regime, soldiers lived off the land and exacted exorbitant taxes from the population. They also destroyed many ancient Meroitic pyramids searching for hidden gold. Furthermore, slave trading increased, causing many of the inhabitants of the fertile Al Jazirah, heartland of Funj, to flee to escape the slave traders. Within a year of the pasha’s victory, 30,000 Sudanese slaves went to Egypt for training and induction into the army. However, so many perished from disease and the unfamiliar climate that the remaining slaves could be used only in garrisons in Sudan.”

Yet, in a cold-blooded apologia reflecting the cruelty of the conquest and the feather-light conscience of its justifiers, the philosopher, Rafai, takes refuge in the American civil war record of casualties (1861-1865) to ennoble and justify the catastrophe caused by the conquest, he says this:

The American civil war which erupted between the northern and southern states in the sixties of nineteenth century has its roots in the cessation tendencies shown by the southern states, followed by declaration of independence from the American Federation. This forced the Federal government to wage war on the separatists of the south, a war which didn’t conclude until the total crash of the southern Army in battles which took the lives of more than six hundred thousand souls.

The lesson gained from all this is summarized in page 195:

The lesson gained and the truth concluded from studying the events, ancient and modern, is that there is no independence for the peoples of the Nile valley north and south except in the shadow of unity of this great valley.”

Sober readers of the reportage of “Al-Masry Al-youm”, even after disregarding the irrelevance of the documents mentioned, would find it hard to grasp the logic of the argument. Egypt, starting from the time of the rise of Muhammad Ali Pasha started conquering and occupying territories south to its border, territories which were never part of Egypt in its entire history. Nubia, the most southern province of Egypt, came to the Egyptian fold, only at the beginning of the 16th century. The first conquest of Sudan took place in 1821,

After the imposition of his hegemony on Sudan (1821), Mohammed Ali put his effort, next, on achieving the same objective at the expense of Abyssinia and the entire Red Sea western shores.

Aaccording to Abdul’ati Ghunaim, another historian of Egyptian Nationalism, Mohammed Ali’s request ( from the Ottomans, who he was, though only nominally, their subordinate )  for referring the administration of Sawakin and Massawa custom houses to him in return of Twenty Five Thousand Pounds yearly rent. Custom house administration, in ports like Massawa and Sawakin on those times represented the only physical and military authority controlling the Port and the territory around it.

Mr. Ghunaim’s book (Egyptian politics in the red sea 1811- 1868), assures that the Ottomans’ sovereignty over Massawa was largely nominal and indirect. The reason for this, he goes on saying, was that the Ottoman Turks in that stage of history had no influence on the region, were unable to gain the allegiance of the local rulers, the latter lacked the confidence on the Turk Ottomans, confidence which could have brought recognition of the suzerainty of the Turks over their territories and their allegiance, and even when this happened it was only conditional to fixed payments as salaries to the chieftains. The Turkish influence never extended beyond Massawa. (Ghunaim P. 134). This is the reason why  Muhammad Ali, in spite of the fact that he was appointed by the Ottoman’s to rule and exploit Massawa for his purposes and ends in return of a fixed yearly amount of money as rent, had to send a military expedition to occupy Massawa.

Mohammed Ali Conquered Massawa with 600 soldiers and established an Egyptian post for administration in 1826, an administration which continued after that until the Empire of the Italians’ arrived and Egypt had to fold its tents, on orders of European Colonial powers like Britain, France and Italy. The Egyptians where, literally, ordered by Britain, to evacuate Massawa and hand it to the European colonial forces, after about sixty years of continual colonial presence.

In essence, the Egyptian presence in Areas, now, part of modern Eritrea and other African countries, was not all that different than the presence of any colonial power except, perhaps, in the degree of barbarity the Egyptians exhibited, one that surpassed much more those associated with the European colonialist movement at that particular juncture of history. The story of the king of Shendi, Sudan, Mek Nimr is typical of what happened wherever the Turkish Egyptian Army appeared in those days:

In November 1822, two days ahead of his cavalry escort, indeed, there seemed little to fear, as Shendi was well pacified and the local Ja’ali [i]Arab mek Nimr Muhammed, had even been part of Ismail’s expedition to Sinnar. At Shendi, Isma’il received Nimr Muhammad, and an unexpected and outrageous for 6,000 slaves and $30,000 to be paid within two days. Isma’il, whose own efforts at slave raiding had been a disappointment to his father, might have irrationally seized what seems a last chance to send large numbers of slaves to Cairo. Nimr Muhammed protested this arbitrary demand and reminded Isma’il that the Ja’aliyin were not slaves like the Egyptian Fellahin. Isma’il flew into a rage and cursed Mek Nimr with every vile epithet he could imagine, bringing his fury to a climax by breaking his pipe across Nimr’s face.

Nimr restrained himself but began plotting his revenge as soon as he was out of Isma’il’s presence. Within hours bundles of dry dura stalks and brushwood began arriving outside Isma’il’s residence arriving. When the workers started to stack these piles against the walls, Isma’il accepted the explanation that they were collected by Mek Nimr for the use of Isma’il’s men. Perhaps this explanation appealed to Isma’il, who may have imagined  a trembling Nimr trying to placate his master. The truth of the situation was revealed that night, when Nimr set the forage ablaze, trapping Isma’il and his staff inside their burning house. Jaalin tribesmen killed every Egyptian ashore before attacking the boats tied along the Nile. The tribesmen fell upon Isma’il’s cavalry escort when it arrived two days later, still unaware of the massacre”  ( Google books, A military history of modern Egypt by Andrew McGregor, p.77)

In 1558 A.D. the Ottoman Turks managed to check the Portuguese power and chase it out and away from the Red Sea waters. Massawa and all the western ports on the Red Sea came under the Ottoman rule with their success in securing their hegemony on the full length of the Red sea from Suez to the Gulf of Aden and Ras Hafoon at the tip of the horn.

By the time Mohammed Ali took power in Egypt, the Ottoman authority in the Ports of Massawa and Sawakin have devolved to the merely nominal authority maintained by paying bribes to local chieftains justifying Mohammed Ali’s use of force to subjugate these ports even though the Ottomans conceded them to him.

The attempt to annex Abyssinia met resistance from Britain which put pressure on Egypt and lobbied heavily through its Consul to the country, the famous Henry Salt. He discouraged M. Ali and convinced him to abandon his plans of sending a military expedition to Abyssinia citing the opposition and rejection of Europe in general, and Britain in particular to such a move. M. Ali abandoned the idea of conquering Abyssinia but exchanged it with another, which would achieve the same objective anyway. He decided to impose his power on the whole Red Sea, and in 1826 he sent a force to occupy Massawa, and it did. It was clear from this, that he was projecting Egypt’s hegemony (Egypt itself being nominally an ottoman province at the time) on Abyssinia and the entire African shore of the Red Sea to the Eritrean hinterland until Aylet. Thus, Egypt starting from around 1821 had occupied all land starting Senhit (Keren) to the west until Kessala. After the death of Mohammed Ali, his successor Abbas (1848-1854) saw that Egypt was unable to endure the burdens of ruling Sudan and administering the ports of Sawakin and Massawa and as such he resubmitted them back to the Ottoman Administration. But in 1866, after the ascension of Mohammed Ali’s grandson Khedive Isma’il, a revival of the Mohammed Ali’s Imperial aspirations was underway, the new Khedive sought and acquired the privilege of permanent administering of Massawa in return of a certain amount paid yearly to the Ottoman administration in Jeddah.

Conquest = Ownership?!

The flimsy logic of Heidi Farooq depends entirely on confusing and equating conquest with ownership. Egypt conquered parts of Eritrea, Uganda and other areas. “Wherever the Egyptian soldier set foot during the conquest is Egyptian and Egyptian owned” is what she seem maintaining. This, however, is a self-defeating logic for any Egyptian to hold, since if it is applied to Ms. Farooq’s country, that country will end up becoming a British ownership. Haven’t the British occupied and stayed occupying Egypt as long as, or even, longer than Egypt Occupied Massawa and Bogos? But wait, Egypt was a Roman occupied back water province for centuries-long once, according to Farooq’s logic, Italy should claim and own Egypt now. 

From the point of confusing and mixing conquest and ownership, the Egyptian newspaper and her expert Heidi extended their argument’s dependence on one more false assumption. The assumption that the Name ‘Sudan’ includes Bogos, Massawa and the whole Eritrean coast is a false assumption, revised historical geography belie the charges and reveal them as merely rhetoric. It is at many times a tested and successful method of tackling objects by changing their names. Change a name and the perception changes. Very old trick! This is the trick running here, but it cannot work on serious history students even if it passed for Truth to the ordinary Egyptian as it plays directly to its emotions and irrational layers of the national ego.

The unwise and voluntary involvement of Eritrea may be a gift in a golden platter for Egypt, but for Eritrea it is a serious and unnecessary gamble with the future and existence of the nation. Egypt’s kiss for Eritrea at this time is a kiss of death.


[i] A Sudanese Arab tribe

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  • http://awate.com/members/yebiow/ yebio woldemariam

    Thank you for the insightful article on Egypt and its relationship with the minion craving for attention while the nation bleeds to death. I went to school in Egypt in the late 1960s, your analysis on the history of Egypt and its contemporary politics is remarkable

  • http://awate.com/members/dantes/ daniel tesfai

    Thanks Burhan Ali for a very informative and insightful article. I didn’t realize how inflammable that question could be before I read your article. It triggered me to research more about it.
    Fact is the Nile is Egypt’s lifeline. Without it there could have been no Egypt; no Egyptian civilization either. Without it Egypt would be an inhospitable barren desert. I can understand when the Egyptians put the question of the use of the Nile waters as their top most national security priority. They would go to war for it. Divisions of elite troops trained to fight on mountainous regions and the jungle are for a long time at the ready.
    Fact is Ethiopia is Egypt’s main water tower and its fertile soil. The Blue Nile provides Egypt with over 80% of its water and 150 million tons of silt every year which is 96% of the transported sediment by the Nile. When Ikhnaton sung praises for the god Hapi- the god of the Nile- for a bountiful year, in actuality he praised Ethiopia.
    Egypt’s claim of ownership of the whole Nile waters is historically and legally unsustainable. Right now Egypt’s share of the Nile waters much more that its needs . in fact it wants to export it to Israel. It already exporting HEP which the other Nile basin countries don’t get a cent from.
    Fact is Africa is not only doubling its population, it is also drying up and all the lands along the Nile basin need the water ,too. They cannot allow Egypt to export water and water products when their own population dies of thirst.
    A war over the Nile is a no win war. I know there many wise African and Arab statesmen and diplomats who would solve the problem of water use in a peaceful way. In the mean time that little war monger dictator from little Eritrea is trying to play off the two most important parts of the problem- Egypt and Ethiopia- against each other . he thinks he is so clever he can outwit both countries. But, Ethiopia is, was and will always remain more important to Egypt as Eritrea. The minute that Ethiopia and Egypt reach an agreement, Egypt would not hesitate a second to present him as an offer to Ethiopia. Our little president and country would be crushed in the diplomatic efforts of the two giants.
    P/S I found it very comical that the two countries are not yet at war, and most probably would not go to war, but the two commentators are already gone to war.

  • http://myawate.awate.com/members/hayet/ Hayet

    When and how did Eritrea get involved with Egypt? You seem to be stating something the the majority of us can’t seem to see. Egypt, like all nations of this planet, put their interest first. Now you as a writer have done nothing to prove that Eritrea is involved with Egypt in anyway, shape or form. Mind you, Egypt does not need Eritrea to break the back of Ethiopia. Ethiopia does not have the cojones to take their own resources away from Egypt. Even if Eritrea were to get involved and allow Egyptian troops to station within Eritrea, what does that prove? If war were to break out, the Egyptians would crush Ethiopia to the point of disintegration, which in turn means the kiss of death for Ethiopia. A defeated and shattered Ethiopia is THE reality if the mad-man in Addis Ababa dares to take their OWN resources away from Egypt. So it begs to question: why are you huffing and puffing and warning Eritrea, when it’s Egypt that holds Ethiopia’s future under its fleet of 200+ F-16s?

    And stop linking to wikipedia, it’s not a source.

    • http://awate.com/members/zereay/ ZEREAY TESSEMA

      Hayet I dont have time to reply to your whole scrap comment, but one reminder for two of your statements, “defeated and shattered ethiopia is the reality….and Egypt holds ethiopia’s future…” It sounds to me that you are naive in Ethiopian history, if you do we even obliterated the Italian march with traditional troops and we dont give up for cowardly born arab society …or….you dont understand 21century political games well …becouse in no means your government will dive to war…or …you dont have enough information about rich water resources of Ethiopia other than Nile….they call it water tank of africa… or…..you forget that comeptence of nile is among 10 countries , mind almost all siding ethiopian agenda, …..or …you are simply bulshit….

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Eritrea Watches The Houthi Advance In Yemen

15 Oct 2014 Gedab News Comments (211)

On Monday September 22, 2014, the Yemeni capital city, Sana'a, fell to the Houthi rebels with relatively little media coverage.…

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