Nile River in Egypt
JERUSALEM – The new Egyptian government has instructed its military to prepare for any eventuality regarding a crucial water dispute with neighboring Ethiopia, according to Egyptian security sources speaking to WND.
The dispute centers around the Nile River, which is used by both Ethiopia and Egypt for water resources.
Ethiopia is planning to construct a nearly $5 billion dam, called the Great Millennium Dam, along the Nile River about 25 miles from the Sudan border. The dam will section off a larger portion of the Nile than is used now by Ethiopia.
Egypt is adamantly opposed to the dam or any deal that would reduce its share of the Nile and give more access to other countries.
A 1929 colonial-era treaty gives Egypt majority rights to the Nile’s waters. But six African countries have signed a petition, the Entebbe Agreement, calling for all Nile Basin countries to modify the old pact and re-allocate the shares of water from the Nile River.
Egyptian security sources say Cairo is appealing to the U.S. and European Union to oppose the proposed Ethiopian dam.
The sources said the Egyptian military believes Israel is encouraging Ethiopia to build the dam as a way to weaken the caretaker Egyptian government following the toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Mubarak was a stanch U.S. ally.
The sources further said the Egyptian military has been told to prepare for any eventuality regarding the situation.
While the Egyptian security sources said they hoped the confrontation did not escalate to a military level, one source told WND “the regime may be inching closer to a water war.”
The dispute marks the latest militant stance by the new Egyptian regime amid fears in the country of the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood seeks to create an Islamic caliphate. Both Hamas and al-Qaida are Brotherhood offshoots.
On Monday, former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who had previously announced his intentions to run for the presidency of Egypt, said “if Israel attacked Gaza we would declare war against the Zionist regime.”
The same day, Egypt’s foreign minister said Cairo is ready to re-establish diplomatic ties with Tehran after a break of more than 30 years, signaling a clear shift in Iran policy since the fall of Mubarak.
“The Egyptian and Iranian people deserve to have mutual relations reflecting their history and civilization,” said Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby after meeting with Iranian official Mugtabi Amani.
Days after Mubarak stepped aside, Egypt allowed the passage of two Iranian warships through the strategic Suez Canal for the first time since 1979.
Also WND reported last month, the Egyptian military command met with Hamas to discuss ways to build a better relationship with the Islamist organization.