Ethiopia: The Great Nile River War


April 29, 2012: Ethiopia and Egypt, working through the AU (African Union), have asked Sudan and South Sudan to resume negotiations to end their war. Discussions have taken place in Ethiopia and Egypt. Since the time of the pharaohs Egypt has regarded Sudan as its backdoor. Ethiopia has remained nominally neutral in the Sudan-South Sudan War but has cultural and historical connections with the people of South Sudan. Egypt is predominantly Muslim, as is Sudan, Ethiopia is predominantly Christian, as is South Sudan. Ethiopia and Egypt are both much more powerful than either of the Sudans. The nightmare scenario for an escalating East African war has Egypt aligning with Sudan and Ethiopia aligning with South Sudan. Call it The Great Nile River War because Nile water issues play a huge role in Ethiopian and Egyptian strategic planning. Ethiopian and Egyptian leaders, however, know that war will have no winner. Cooler heads in Ethiopia and Egypt are trying to calm the hot heads in Sudan and South Sudan.

The government is expanding its blocking of hostile or opposition web sites. The website of a major opposition newspaper, The Reporter, has been blocked, by the state-owned communications company, for a week.  

April 27, 2012: Oromo rebels claimed that Ethiopian security forces killed four Oromo civilians and wounded eight in an incident in the town of Hassasa

April 24, 2012: The US warned its citizens to avoid hotels and government buildings in Nairobi, Kenya because of possible Islamic terror attacks. Kenyan and Ethiopian military forces remain engaged in operations in Somalia and the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab has threatened retaliation attacks in Kenya. Two terror attacks (with grenades) in Nairobi (October 2011) had links to Al Shabaab. Those attacks left one dead and 20 injured. Another grenade attack took place March 10, 2012, on a bus loading zone. Six people were slain and 63 wounded in that attack.

April 23, 2012: Eritrea accused the CIA of attempting to smear its president, Isaias Afewerki, by claiming that he is fatally ill. There are rumors that Afewerki is sick.

April 22, 2012: Egyptian officials are once again worrying that Ethiopia’s Grand Millennium Dam project will greatly reduce Egypt’s share of Nile River water. The Egyptian statements follow an Ethiopian report that the dam may be enlarged (with the lake behind it having a depth of 150 meters instead of 90). The Ethiopian government rejected the Egyptian complaints. Ethiopia wants to sell electricity generated by the dam to Egypt.

April 21, 2012: Ethiopia has asked that South Sudan help facilitate the return of several hundred South Sudanese tribal militiamen who fled into Ethiopia to avoid South Sudan’s Jonglei state disarmament program.

April 19, 2012: Somalia’s Al Shabaab Islamist militant group claimed that its fighter ambushed an Ethiopian military convoy in Somalia’s Galgadud region. The pro-Somali government Islamist group, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa, said that a firefight did occur but that no Ahulu Sunna militiamen or Ethiopian soldiers were killed in the incident. Another Somali source reported that an Ethiopian vehicle hit a landmine and three soldiers died in the incident. Only a handful of journalists have managed to get into the Galgadud area, where Ethiopian forces are deployed, so most battle reports consist of allegations and claims and counter-claims by the belligerents. The other sources, however, are usually cell phone reports from local Somali civilians who phone friendly journalists or aid organization workers.

April 18, 2012: Sudan has asked Ethiopia to help the occupation of its Heglig oil field (South Kordofan state) by South Sudan. Ethiopia has a peacekeeping force deployed in the disputed Abyei region (border of Sudan and South Sudan).

April 17, 2012: Ethiopia accused Eritrea of conducting mass kidnappings of Ethiopian civilians living near the Ethiopia-Eritrea border.



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