By Bereket Kidane,
THE unilateral action by Ethiopia to dam the Nile for hydropower generation and the adverse effects it will have on Egypt has been described by experts as anywhere from “causing significant damage to Egypt” to “potentially catastrophic.”
Anytime you play smart with nature and make changes to the landscape, it always has unintended negative consequences. It happens every time. Guaranteed! At the very least, it never works out the way you imagined it. Leaving aside the merits of damming the Nile on the Ethiopian side, the net effect will be to reduce the water flow to downstream states, namely Sudan and Egypt.
Can Egypt, which literally depends on the Nile for its life, live with the adverse effects of damming the Nile, which could literally threaten its survival?
When survival is at steak all bets are off. There are no rules when it comes to survival.
In 1979, Egypt’s former President Anwar Sadat had said, “The only matter that would take Egypt to war is water.”
Since the Fall of Hosni Mubarak’s government and the Arab Spring uprisings, Egypt has been engulfed in political turmoil and too distracted to deal with the threat from Ethiopia but once the construction of the dam is finished, Egypt will have to face the consequences of its reduced share of the Nile’s waters. Reduced water flow to Egypt will no doubt lead to water shortages and all kinds of political, social and economic instability.
The likely scenario is that Egypt will eventually have to send jets to bomb the dam rather than continue to live with chronic water shortages and social instability.
According to emails obtained by Wikileaks, Mubarak had detailed plans to launch airstrikes from Sudan on any dams built by Ethiopia. For now, Egypt doesn’t have Sudan’s support since Sudan is now supporting the Renaissance Dam due to its internal vulnerabilities but the Sudanese are usually fickle allies when it comes to supporting one side or the other in a conflict and it is difficult to imagine them saying No to Arab and Muslim Egypt if Egypt needs their air bases.
Egypt’s political situation is stabilizing again with the takeover by the military and the military regime has been raising the ante lately. With the election of Abdel-Fatah el-Sisi, Mubarak’s plans might be dusted off the shelves and put to use. The military brass of el-Sisi knows full well that water shortages will lead to food shortages and riots in Egyptian cities.
Egypt has no water source other than the Nile. It’s completely dependent on the Nile for all its needs. Therefore, it will do whatever it can to preclude social and economic instability stemming from water shortages , even if it means going to war.
Again, when it comes to survival there are no rules.
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Egyptian Armed Forces Vs. TPLF Led Ethiopian Army
BELOW is what a 4th grade dropout TPLF generals would face before they quickly relinquished Menelik Palace in Addis Ababa to run back to their familiar dedebit mountain home in Tigray for good and replaced by non ethnic apartheid leader that brings back peace in the region, like Dr. Birhanu Nega, Mola Asgedom or Dawood Ayaana.
Let’s face it. If TPLF army generals with much greater resources than ‘tiny’ Eritrea, unlimited foreign financial aid, assistance from Ukraine mercenary Air Force pilots, support of U.S. reconnaissance satellite and “time outs” that was forced by “international community’s referee” to recuperate Ethiopian after each beating and still failed to oust Eritrean military or even take a small sea port town called Assab near Ethiopian border from an extremely over stretched Eritrean army, then what chance do these bush-generals have to defeat a “giant” army and country like EGYPT? NONE.
The Egyptian Armed Forces are the largest in Africa, and the Middle East. In 2014, it was ranked the 13th most powerful in the world and gives Egypt regional military supremacy rivaled only by Israel, besides being one of the strongest in Africa. Egypt is one of the few countries in the Middle East, and the only Arab state, with a reconnaissance satellite and has launched one in 2007 and another one in 2014.
The Egyptian Army is administratively divided into 4 tactical commands (Northern, Western, Central, Southern command), each command is under control of a Major General in addition to two armies (2nd, 3rd army) and different corps and divisions (Armour, Mechanized, Artillery, Air-mobile, Airborne, Infantry, frontier, military police, intelligence, Republican guards, Special Forces).
In 2011, The Egyptian Armed forces is reported to have more than 468,500 active personnel, in addition to 800,000 personnel available in reserve and over 400,000 paramilitary personnel making it one of the largest armies in the world. The recruitment in Egypt is mandatory for all men who reached the military service age. Only the medical committee formed by the Armed forces can exempt those who they decide as unsuitable for the military service. Men who have no brothers are also exempted.
Conscripts for the army and other service branches without a university degree serve three years as enlisted soldiers. Conscripts with a General Secondary School Degree serve two years as enlisted personnel. Conscripts with a university degree serve one year as enlisted personnel or three years as a reserve officer. Officers for the army are trained at the Egyptian Military Academy one of the oldest academies in the world.
EGYPTIAN AIR FORCE
The Egyptian Air Force (EAF) are the second biggest branch under control of the armed forces. Currently, the backbone of the EAF is the F-16. The EAF (planes and pilot training) is considered to be the strongest in Africa and one of the strongest in the Middle East. The Mirage 2000 is the other modern interceptor used by the EAF.
The Egyptian Air Force has 220 F-16s (plus 20 on order) making it the 4th largest operator of the F-16 in the World. The EAF has over 1,309 combat aircraft, 321 armed helicopters, 35 Apache’s AH-64D and controls about 17 air base. It is also continues to fly extensively upgraded MiG-21s, F-7 Skybolts, F-4 Phantoms, Dassault Mirage Vs, and the C-130 Hercules.
Among other planes are 40 Mig-29 SMT jet-fighters with a possible additional batch of 60-80 planes arriving soon.
The Egyptian Navy is the largest branch under the armed forces’ control, it is the largest navy in the Middle East and Africa, and is the seventh largest in the world measured by the number of vessels.
EGYPTIAN AIR DEFENSE
The Egyptian Air Defense Forces is the latest established branch in the Armed Forces consists of 30,000 officers and soldiers plus 40,000 conscripts. The Egyptian Air Defense Command or ADF is Egypt’s military command responsible for air defense. One of the most powerful air defenses in the world.
Egypt patterned its Air Defense Force (ADF) after the Soviet Anti-Air Defenses, which integrated all its air defense capabilities – antiaircraft guns, rocket and missile units, interceptor planes, and radar and warning installations..
EGYPTIAN SPECIAL FORCES
Special Forces in the Egyptian Armed forces are units under control of different branches. Most of the officers take the special Sa’ka Course. In addition to Sa’ka, Special forces take specialized training in the fields of Direct action, Hostage rescue, Counter-terrorism, Unconventional warfare, Special reconnaissance, Asymmetric warfare.
However, Most information about Egyptian Army’s units are classified.
• Sa’ka Forces
• Unit 777, counter-terrorism and Special operations unit.
• Unit 999, Special operations and reconnaissance unit.
• Navy Sa’ka (Navy Thunderbolt)
Special Forces from officers and non-commissioned officers from Infantry, Sa’ka, Paratroopers and Navy can take the Seal Team 6 course which is considered the most advanced course in the Egyptian Armed Forces.
Authorities of the armed forces include the Engineering Authority (EAAF), it’s the sector beneath the Armed Forces responsible for the Engineering work, its mission’s variety between War and peace time, In War time the authority is responsible for the engineering aid to the Forces, one of the Authority major operations was Operation Badr (1973).
EGYPT’S MILITARY INDUSTRY
The Egypt Armed Forces’ inventory includes equipment from different countries around the world. Equipment from the former Soviet Union is being progressively replaced by more modern US, French, and British equipment, a significant portion of which is built under license in Egypt, such as the M1 Abrams tank which makes Egypt the owner of the second largest number of latest generation main battle tanks in the region after Israel and the first in the case of the older generations.
In addition to importing weapons, Egypt maintains a large industrial fortress as its military industry is considered the most important in the Arab World. State-owned enterprises which lays under control of the Armament Authority headed by a major general, are the main domestic producers of Egypt’s defense systems.
Arab Organization for Industrialization, with has about 19,000 employees out of which are 1250 engineers, more than nine military factories producing both civilian and military products is considered Egypt military’s most important domestic weapons supplier.
Egypt’s Main battle tank the M1 Abrams is made locally under license in addition to Egyptian-Upgraded Ramses II, T-62 and T-45E. Egyptian Military industry includes Sakr Eye missiles, (Nile 23, Sinai 23) Self-propelled air defense, RPGs. K-8E Trainer aircrafts, in addition to aircrafts overhaul and maintenance.
Locally made military vehicles include various Fahd APCs and IFVs, EFIVs, SIFV, Walid MKII, Jeep Wrangler TJL, Jeep J8, Kader-320 armored vehicle, Mercedes G-320 armored vehicle, Iveco VM 90 and Hotspur HUSSARD.
Egypt also locally produce small arms such as Helwan, Helwan 920 guns, Misr machine gun, Maadi assault rifles, FN Minimi, FN MAG, SG-43 Goryunov, MK19.
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
Egypt, with a history of using weapons of mass destruction, remains one of only four countries not to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention and hasn’t ratified the Biological Weapons Convention.
Egypt’s chemical weapons program is the most developed of its pursuit of developing a Weapons of Mass Destruction program though it is thought this reached its peak in the 1960s. Egypt was one of the few countries to use chemical weapons after WWI during the North Yemen Civil War when phosgene and mustard gas was used against Royalist forces in Northern Yemen.
Egypt has maintained a policy of not signing the Chemical Weapons Convention until questions regarding Israel’s nuclear weapons program are answered. Egypt signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) on April 10, 1972 but has not ratified it.
Egypt’s missile program began in earnest in the 1960s. With West German assistance, Egypt began developing three missile systems: al-Zafar (375-km range), al-Kahir (600-km range) and al-Raid (1,000-km range)
Egypt has been more successful in its pursuit of Scud-B and perhaps Scud-C manufacturing capabilities. With the assistance of North Korea, Egypt was able to develop an indigenous Scud-B production capability, and there are reports that it has developed an enhanced Scud-C missile.In 2001, Egypt reportedly signed an agreement with North Korea to purchase its 1000km-range Nodong missile system.
Egypt is not a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).