The conflict between Egypt and Ethiopia over the $5 billion Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) is heating up after talks broke down. Ethiopia has raised even more concerns as they strengthened ties with Turkey, purchasing military drones.
Conflict over the dam expanding
After negotiations over the controversial dam broke down, the United Nations has gotten involved. Ten days ago, the Security Council called on Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to resume negotiations under the sponsorship of the African Union (AU), currently chaired by the Democratic Republic of Congo, for “a mutually acceptable and binding agreement.” So far, the talks have been fruitless and the possibility of regional violence is very real.
Egypt, located over 2,500 kilometers downstream of the site, opposes the dam, which it believes will reduce the amount of water available from the Nile. The Government of Egypt, a country that relies heavily on the waters of the Nile, has demanded that Ethiopia cease construction on the dam as a precondition to negotiations, has sought regional support for its position, and some political leaders have discussed methods to sabotage it.
The dispute is three-pronged as Sudan also has an interest. Though not as extreme as Sisi, Sudan’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Yasser Abbas also suggested that a harsh response to Ethiopia as on the table.
But the conflict over the damn as it passes 80% completion has expanded beyond the Nile River. Other countries are being dragged into the expanding conflict between Egypt and Ethiopia.
The current President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, came to power in 2013 after overthrowing President Mohammad Morsi who was closely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, a dangerous and unstabilizing Islamist extremist element in Egypt. Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has close relations with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Conversely, Sudan, which also opposes GERD, has grown closer with Egypt since the overthrow of President Omar Al-Bashir in 2019, who was linked with the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda. The US removed Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism last year in return for a commitment to normalize ties with Israel. Sudan paid over $300 million to the US to settle lawsuits from Al-Qaeda victims.
The situation is exacerbated by the growing relations between Turkey and Ethiopia. Ethiopia has sought military and financial support from Turkey to cope with its war on its northern border against Tigray. Turkey has attempted to act as a mediator but this was overshadowed by reports a few weeks ago that Turkey had provided Ethiopia with military Bayraktar TB2 drones to be used in the conflict. Egypt unsuccessfully petitioned the US government to block the sale of the drones.
So, in the shifting regional politics, Egypt and Sudan are backed by the US and Israel in their multifaceted conflict with Ethiopia, which is backed by Turkey.
The Egypt Pronouncement
The developing political situation seems to be the manifestation of Isaiah’s “Egypt Pronouncement.”
The “Egypt” Pronouncement. Mounted on a swift cloud, Hashem will come to Egypt; Egypt’s idols shall tremble before Him, And the heart of the Egyptians shall sink within them. “I will incite Egyptian against Egyptian: They shall war with each other, Every man with his fellow, City with city And kingdom with kingdom. Egypt shall be drained of spirit, And I will confound its plans; So they will consult the idols and the shades And the ghosts and the familiar spirits. And I will place the Egyptians At the mercy of a harsh master, And a ruthless king shall rule them” —declares the Sovereign, the lord of Hosts. Water shall fail from the seas, Rivers dry up and be parched,Channels turn foul as they ebb, And Egypt’s canals run dry. Reed and rush shall decay,And the Nile papyrus by the Nile-side And everything sown by the Nile Shall wither, blow away, and vanish. Isaiah 19:1-7
Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific end-of-days author, suggested that it would be perfectly logical to use this ancient Biblical prophecy to understand the current political tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt.
“In addition to being the blueprint for building a nation that serves God, the Bible also describes the unchanging nature of society,” Rabbi Winston said. “As such, the Bible can be used as a template to understand current events. But these verses are much more than logic or extrapolation. Prophecy goes much deeper.”
But Rabbi Winston emphasized that prophecy is not the result of reason or logic.
“The literal reading of the prophecy is counter logical as the Nile has never gone dry,” Rabbi Winston said. “The seasonal ebb and flow of the Nile was a constant that allowed Egypt to survive and flourish. So for the Prophet Isaiah to say that the Nile would dry up was unthinkable. But here we are, seeing that as a possibility due to this Ethiopian dam.”
“This is clearly a signpost that takes on even more significance now that we are so close to the end,” Rabbi Winston said. “We can see these events in the context of the prophecy and look at where the prophecy says it will go. There are certainly more parts to this prophecy and also to the current events.”
“Everyone sees that the systems of government are coming undone. This is a pendulum swinging, with war being an inevitable part of the cycle. The US is in decline and the current US government is not doing what they need to do to make it stop or even slow down.”
“The last hundred years have been building up and one spark could set off the explosion. But just as the Bible is the template, the Bible also provides a clear description of the end and who will be where.”
Indeed, the conflict over the Nile has been brewing for almost a century but came to a head when construction began in 2011 on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River(GERD) formerly known as the Millennium Dam and sometimes referred to as Hidase Dam. Construction began ten years ago on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia with the primary purpose of the dam being electricity production to relieve Ethiopia’s acute energy shortage. It is expected to go online next year and eventually, the dam will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa as well as the seventh-largest in the world.
Filling the dam with water began in 2020 and is expected to take between 4-7 years to complete. The second filling was completed on 19 July 2021, without the agreement of Egypt and Sudan. The third filling will likely take place during the rainy season starting in June, but the preparations have commenced.