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Egypt Induced Riots and Instability Have Changed the Political Order of Ethiopia - What is next for Egypt?

By Ermias Hailu
Tigrai Online, July 15, 2018


Egypt Reaction to the Construction of Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam(GERD)

When the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi decided to launch the construction of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in 2011 by crossing Egypt’s long held red line, it is most likely that he did not do an in-depth and realistic risk assessment and mitigation.

It is a well-established fact that Egypt has been “the behind the curtain” organizer, financer, and leader of the riots and instabilities Ethiopia has been experiencing over the last eight years. The riots were initially started within the Muslim community and were followed by Oromia and Amhara.

The Egyptians developed and implemented   a “Grand Ethiopian Destabilization Strategy” after a careful study and analysis of the internal weaknesses of Ethiopia, such as the fluid nature of EPRDF, growing dissatisfaction of the Ethiopian people on EPRDF governance, historic and current rivalry within different ethnic groups, and weaknesses of the current federal structure specially between Tigray and Amhara. Egypt’s destabilization strategy has been implemented by involving various foot soldiers such as President Isaias of Shabia, Dr. Berhanu Nega of Ginbot 7, Ato Daud Ibsa of OLF, etc with full involvement of various media outlets such as ESAT, OMN, BNN. The central focus of Egypt’s destabilization strategy has been to weaken EPRDF by eliminating its leader and dividing the Ethiopian people by demonizing the TPLF and the Tigrayan people which they have been able to implement it effectively.

The destabilization strategy of Egypt has the following goals:

  • Weaken the EPRDF government and install Egypt friendly government in Ethiopia that will protect the historical share of Egypt (an agreement between Sudan and Egypt in 1959 allocated 78% of the Nile water by volume to Egypt). If this goal is achieved, Egypt will allow the completion of GERD as it will benefit Egypt as “free of charge” reservoir.
  •  In case Egypt fails to install a friendly government, it will continue to destabilize and weaken Ethiopia including its defense force and destroy the GERD prior to its completion.

Where does Egypt stand regarding realization of its goals?

  • Ethiopia is currently a semi destabilized and cash starved country with a new inexperienced EPRDF leadership that is highly vulnerable to foreign manipulation.
  • Egypt is currently testing the ground to see if the new leadership of Ethiopia will obey its orders. The USD 1 billion in hard cash and USD 2 billion in direct investment offered by United Arab Emirates is part and parcel of Egypt’s strategy to win the heart and mind of the new EPRDF leadership. During the recent visit of Egypt by PM Dr. Abiy, President Sisi asked (dictated) the Ethiopian PM to swear to God before the Egyptian people that he will not hurt Egypt’s share of the Nile. The Ethiopian PM replied, “We will take care of the Nile and we will preserve your share and we will work to increase this quota and President Sisi and I will work on this.” What this means is that the PM of Ethiopia has knowingly or unknowingly and contrary to his biblical beliefs entered into a “legally binding verbal agreement” with Egypt to retain their historical share from the Nile river which is in contradiction to the principle of “equitable and no-significant harm” that Ethiopia signed with Egypt in 1993 and the tripartite agreement that was signed between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in 2015. It is likely that the above verbal commitment from PM Abiy triggered the approval of USD 3 billion to be released from UAE to Ethiopia and the support of Egypt to Ethio-Eritrea reconciliation that is being orchestrated right now.
  • On the article I published on June 6, 2018 under the title “TPLF/EPRDF The Past and The Future”, please refer to the link below, I stated the following about Egypt.
  • “Contrary to what the Egyptians want us to believe that they do not need the GERD, the truth is that they badly need it as “free of charge reservoir” as far as their so called historic right is protected. All the money they have invested to create instability on Ethiopia is to enable them to arm twist the Ethiopian government to sign a water sharing agreement that legitimizes their “historic claim”. That is exactly what they did to Sudan decades ago and they want to repeat it with Ethiopia. PM Dr. Abiy, beware of the Egyptians! They will try to deceive you directly or indirectly (through African Union, UN, superpowers, leaders of Middle East rich countries, etc.). They know you have shortage of hard currency and they will offer you with strings attached. Say no to their zero sum demands, like the late PM Meles who gave his precious life for his country.

    Once again, my strong advice to Dr. Abiy is to be extremely cautious and to use a strong experienced team on handling Ethiopia’s foreign affairs. I was ashamed when Dr. Abiy stated recently in Asmara that President Isaias has given him authority/assigned him to be the “Foreign Minister of Eritrea”; to say the least that is a naive diplomacy.

    THE Ethio-Eriteria issue and Egypt’s hand

    When Egypt invaded Ethiopia in 1875, Egypt demanded to be given the exact region the Italians later called Eritrea or continue with the full conquest of Ethiopia. The Emperor of that time, Yohannes, rejected their demand and he fought /defeated them until their government in Egypt collapsed. Unfortunately, the Italians replaced the Egyptians and succeeded to carve out Eritrea. After the 2nd world war, the UN decided to federate Eritrea with Ethiopia, although Egypt claimed Eritrea and strongly opposed the federation with Ethiopia. Thereafter, Egypt created the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) and funded the 30 years bitter war that caused untold death, destruction and suffering to the people of Ethiopia and succeeded to snatch Eritrea from Ethiopia to make it its de facto colony. Let me repeat it clear and loud again - Eritrea is the de facto colony of Egypt and a thorn in the flesh of Ethiopia.

    Then why did Egypt, the de facto colonizer of Eritrea, authorized President Isaias, the man with so much of innocent blood on his hands (we are yet to hear for his apology), to make peace with Ethiopia? Possible reasons:

    • Egypt may have been assured by its alliance partners Saudi and UAE that they have enough assurance from the new leadership of EPRDF that the above stated commitment by PM Abiy will be converted to a written document. By the way, as part of Saudi/UAE/Egypt rivalry with Turkey, Iran and Qatar, The Saudi and UAE want to bring Ethiopia and Eritrea on their side and I believe that is why they championed and brokered the Ethio-Eritrea peace deal. Ultimately, they want the whole Eastern Africa (including Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti) to be part of their alliance. I strongly oppose Ethiopia siding to any party since Ethiopia has enough weight to stand alone as a neutral partner with all powers based on mutual respect, win-win and non-interference principles. It looks Saudi & UAE are trying to buy Ethiopia!
    • As Sudan is allied with Turkey and Qatar, bringing Ethiopia to the Saudi led alliance will anger Sudan which will weaken the Ethiopia and Sudan unified front against Egypt on GERD negotiation.
    • Egypt may believe that opening of borders between Eritrea and Tigray will enable them to continue their assault on TPLF, which will further weaken the EPRDF so that Egypt can install its puppet government in Ethiopia without any hinderance.
    • See the following chronological order of events and try to connect the dots on the coordinated involvement of the strategic geo-political partners Saudi, UAE and Egypt on the Nile and Ethio-Eritrea issues:
      •  May 18, Ethiopia PM visits Saudi Arabia, the heavy weight in need of strategic partnership with Ethiopia to counter Turkey /Iran/Qatar alliance. Was the money offered by UAE partially offered by Saudi or do we expect a new package from Saudi?
      • May 21 Ethiopia PM visits UAE
      • June 5, Ethiopia accepted the year 2000 Alger’s agreement unconditionally
      • June 10/11 Dr. Abiy Visited Egypt and made verbal but binding commitment to protect Egypt water share.
      • June 15 UAE Crown Prince traveled to Ethiopia and announced the USD 3B in grant/investment
      • June 20 Eritrea announced that they will send delegation to Ethiopia for peace talks
      • July 4 Eretria President Isaias traveled to UAE and met the crown prince. It is believed that he

    was also offered big money (that may be the reason why he was so happy while receiving Dr. Abiy in Asmara)

    • July 8 Ethiopia’s PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed visits Eritrea and signed a peace agreement
    • July 14, President Isaias visited Ethiopia and the drama continues.

    THE Future of EPRDF & GERD

    Most of the Ethiopian political forces that were organized and lead by Egypt have either entered Ethiopia to be part of the transitional political process or are in the way of doing so like Ginbot 7 and OLF. We have also heard that Dr. Abiy has an open-door policy for the Eritrean government. The expected result is Egypt’s negotiation power on Ethiopia will increase day by day as its agents openly participate in the political process and weaken the EPRDF and the fate of the GERD will be determined in the process.


    Egypt and its agents ultimate prime focus is to weaken or disintegrate EPRDF. As long as PM Dr. Abiy complies with the demand of Egypt and its agents they will let him stay in power until the next election. However, if PM Dr. Abiy decides not to bow down to Egypt, Egypt will authorize its agents (already in Ethiopia) to destroy the GERD.

    I do not expect that PM Dr. Abiy will make a historic plunder by bowing to the demands of Egypt and its agents and I expect him to resist. That is why he needs a strong EPRDF. Egypt’s and its agents will continue their attack on TPLF and on the Tigrayan people and they will do their best to convince Dr. Abiy to join them. I am highly concerned as I have heard Dr. Abiy’s repeated statements that are intended to bring a rift between the Tigrayan people and their beloved organization TPLF and belittle the sacrifice the TPLF/EPRDF made to defeat the Derg. The Tigrayan people have invested in blood and flesh on TPLF and every Tigrayan has a stake in TPLF. Tigrayans will continue to support and protect the TPLF as an apple of their eye while continuing to boldly criticize and challenge it so that it transforms itself to be relevant and serves the aspirations of the Tigrayan and Ethiopian people. In 1992, I met a non Tigrayn Derg official and asked him why Derg failed the war in Northern Ethiopia. His answer surprised me! He said “Derg was defeated because it made the Tigrayan people its enemy.” My strong advice to PM Dr. Abiy is to make peace with TPLF without forsaking your change agenda and find the pro-change members of TPLF and help them to transform the TPLF. Truly speaking EPRDF is the brainchild of TPLF, and Dr. Abiy shouldn’t expect to stabilize Ethiopia without TPLF. However, Egypt, President Isaias, and their agents will advise him the opposite.

     Dr. Abiy please note that the Tigrayan people are the foundation of the united Ethiopia that you are working hard to establish and you will not succeed without them (You also said it yourself that they are the engines of Ethiopia). I strongly believe PM Abiy is a gift from the God of Ethiopia, but I also strongly believe that the same God has a covenant with Emperor Ezana as his Post Christian stone inscription still standing in Axum reveals it.

    My previous article denoted key recommendations and advise for the new Ethiopian leadership. The link is down below.

    God Bless TPLF/EPRDF, God Bless Ethiopia


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