The decline of Egypt’s power in the realm of foreign policy has never been as clear as in recent days. Battered by terrorist attacks against civilians and attacks on its armed forces by jihadists, in trouble because of the weakness of its economy, and largely dependent on financial assistance from abroad, especially from Saudi Arabia, Egypt has lost much of the authority it had built up over the years of Nasser’s rule, which it had retained even after signing the peace treaty with Israel that isolated it within the Arab world.
The country’s adversaries are now realizing this. No amount of invectives, protests or even threats of aerial bombardment have succeeded in imposing Egypt’s position regarding the Renaissance Dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile with the help of the Italian company Salini Impregilo—a truly Pharaonic project, worth €3.4 billion, and which will become the largest in Africa. Addis Ababa has not shown much interest in the idea of jointly administering the precious water of the Nile so that no country would go without. They are negotiating and holding discussions, while at the same time continuing with the construction of the dam.
“Addis Ababa is applying the same policy of fait accompli that Israel is using regarding Jerusalem,” said Mustafa al Faqi, the director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a few days ago, interviewed by al Masry al Youm. “It is clear that Ethiopia, with the help of Sudan, wants to put Egypt before a fait accompli,” al Faqi explained, warning that “Cairo will not sit idly by and will not allow our people to go thirsty.” Egypt, he concluded, “has endured so much from Ethiopia already. Its government is acting like Israel, on the one hand it is negotiating, and on the other hand it goes ahead with the works.”