By Afro-Middle East Centre
On 24 October 2014, an armed attack on an Egyptian security detail in the Sheikh Zuweid area of Egypt’s North Sinai Governorate left more than thirty soldiers dead and dozens wounded. Details of the attack are still unclear, but the Egyptian government immediately declared a three-month state of emergency in the governorate, and deployed additional military and security troops to the region, adjacent to Egypt’s eastern border with Gaza and Israel.
Cairo also indefinitely closed the Rafah Crossing with Gaza, and postponed indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel, scheduled for the end of October in Cairo. Subsequently, the Egyptian authorities began establishing a buffer zone along Egypt’s border with Gaza, ranging from 400 metres to two kilometres, thus forcing thousands of residents in the area from their homes and agricultural lands.
By Afro-Middle East Centre
Ethiopia’s decision in May 2013 to divert the Blue Nile tributary for 500 metres to aid in the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) was met with fury from the Egyptian administration led by President Mohamed Morsi. Military action was even threatened as a retaliatory move. Morsi’s subsequent overthrow and the need of the military coup administration to reassert control meant that talk of such hostilities was suspended.
This article is the first in a two-part series which analyses these events using the 1966 Helsinki principles of equity and water security as a framework to permit better understanding of the situation. This part will contextualise the GERD’s construction by unpacking the main historical and current issues which have influenced its development, and by analysing the evolution of water sharing. Additionally, changes in the balance of power in the region and the rise of Ethiopia are critically examined.
By Abdel Bari Atwan
The resolutions and practices of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) have proven day after day that when it intervened to force President Husni Mubarak to step down, it was not serving the revolution as many (including myself) believed but was rather seizing power in a white revolution that was planned with utmost precision in accordance with scenarios that relied upon a gradual approach to abort the revolution and keep Egypt hostage to American obedience.
AMEC will host a one-day symposium on 28 January 2014 to discuss possible futures for Egypt. It will bring together a number of prominent Egyptians who are now part of the opposition to the coup, as well as other commentators. The key issues to be discussed at the symposium include: circumstances surrounding the July 2013 coup; the role, mechanisms, influence and future trajectory of the 'deep state'; the opposition to the coup and the current state of repression; the military ‘roadmap’ and other scenarios for Egypt’s future.
Na'eem Jeenah, from the Afro-Middle East Centre, explains that although the Egyptian military has said it will step in if President Mohamed Morsi doesn't resign, it is unlikely it wants to rule the country.