Unlike in the past, Egyptian hidden agenda to keep the horn of Africa in crisis came to be challenged by Somalia, Somaliland, South Sudan, the Sudan and Ethiopia. These countries assured that they will not die for the greedy cause of Egypt in this 21st century. This cooperation should be maintained robustly!
For those passionate spectators of Egypt’s policy and strategy towards the Horn of Africa, the inexcusable wind blowing from its heart cannot be a bolt from the blue. Surely, it has been there for the past centuries and will not stop soon. Irrespective of the various colors of the Egyptian leaders who reigned either through bloodshed or popular elections in different times pursued two major policies towards the horn of Africa. Both policies being followed are the same and are based on destructive and self centered calculation approach from day one.
The two policies the Egyptian leaders conducted towards the Horn of Africa are to Islamize the non-Muslim community and make the non-Arab Muslims Arabs in one hand and the second strategy was to fully control the Nile River riparian countries by any means possible. The calculation of the two stated policies was meant to secure full control of the resources of the Nile River at the expense of the rest nine riparian countries.
To realize these two policies, the various Egyptian leaders applied various successful and unsuccessful tactics. It, for example, waged futile direct invasion to Ethiopia and conducted proxy wars against this country throughout the century. Egypt with the help of Britain (its former colonialist) invaded Ethiopia directly before 130 years back during the Ethiopian emperor, Yohannes the 4th and was shamefully pulsed easily. Egyptian forces who tried to invade Ethiopia were not left to tell the story to their children.
The remaining up to date indirect wars were done via Eritrea, Somalia and an attempt via South Sudan currently. It was public knowledge that the Egyptian initiated and encouraged Isaias Afeworki to invade Ethiopia in 1997 via Badme area. However, it went wrong and backfired both enemies where Ethiopia was able to take the advantage to seriously realize robust economic and security policies so that it can further halt such conspiracy. The incident changed the power balance of the region and Ethiopia emerged untouched responsible peace stabilizer of the region.
Taking lessons from the past and the then situation, Ethiopia successfully strengthened its military and security forces which both have effectively secured internal political stability and become peace keepers of the whole region, besides its fast economic growth. Therefore, Ethiopia locked the opportunity for Egypt to penetrate internally and externally in its internal affairs up to now. Egypt was left in a vicious circle that unable to either conduct direct or indirect wars. Eritrea was completely contained and Somalia remained controlled as well. Thus, the two gaps where Egyptians were penetrating into the horn and mainly to Ethiopia are fairly locked.
In the 1920s, the then Egyptian leaders highly interfered in the internal affairs of Somalia in an attempt to make the Somali people Arabs through brotherhood ideologies. To some extent, some thriving destructive jobs were done regarding this project. The seeds sown by the brotherhood ideologies to plant radical Islamists produced the current terrorists in Somalia who are hopelessly ruining the country. When the communist president Siade Barre was ousted from power, the Egyptian supported the various war lords to seize the opportunity to make Somalia of She’ria state. However, with the support of the international community and mainly the Somalis, the mercenaries of Egypt were evaporated into the air. The proxy war of Egypt against Ethiopia came to an end in this regard.
It is not, however, a secret project that Egypt was behind the Eritrean government in financing, training and arming the various anti-peace elements in Somalia who were against Ethiopia and the region. Yet, it is naïve to conclude that Egypt stopped to support to reorganize and strengthen the outlawed war lords in Somalia since it is its core policy to destabilize the whole region. The role Egypt played in spoiling the horn of Africa is more destructive than its son, Isaias Afeworki of Eritrea.
When Egyptian realized that it was impossible to directly engage Ethiopia currently, they changed their tactics to only engage it by regrouping the various local extremist Muslims and other power monger outlawed political groups. Accordingly, it invested huge money and time to strengthen the terrorists groups like OLF, Ginbot 7, and other imported religious extremists to disrupt Ethiopia’s fast and deepening economic and democratization process.
Together, the Eritrean regime and Egyptian leaders have been attempting unsuccessful terror acts to obscure the peace and stability of Ethiopia through sending suicide bombers and other armed groups who in various times were caught red-handed by the Ethiopian security forces while attempting to destroy huge infrastructure and including to kill African leaders gathered in the African Union hall.
During President Morsi time, Egyptian higher officials were seen live on Television while consulting how to destabilize Ethiopia and destroy the ongoing construction of the renaissance Dam through arming the local armed elements. As continuation of it, the OLF leaders were seen also presently in Cairo while demanding the Egyptian leaders whatsoever helps to devastate the Dam. The two recent hard facts exposed in Cairo prove that the Egyptian leaders never sleep if they do not realize their peace spoiling mission against Ethiopia and the region to fulfill their greedy policy.
Therefore, the red lights from Egypt now is telling by itself that the win-win policy Ethiopia was honestly having with Egypt is not heartily received. Thus, Ethiopia should not trust Egypt but must re-arrange its foreign policy in a proactive way from now on wards. Any country or groups who plan to import Egypt’s destructive policy to the region in general and to Ethiopia in particular must be crashed in a manner that it was done in the past.
The Egyptian leaders left no unturned stones to destabilize the whole region to satisfy their greedy cause. What is more appealing here is that some countries of the region who were victims of the appalling policy of Egypt begun telling them to stop meddling in the affairs of the region.
It is, for example, rumored that the South Sudanese president Salva Kiir refused to Egyptians to train his forces and step foot in his country understanding their evil intention they would execute in the region.
As follow up, the Somalis and Somaliland authorities again exposed the greedy and destructive policy of Egypt in the horn recently. “The brotherly relationship between Ethiopia and Somaliland cannot be devastated by Egyptian government and other states in the world” said Somaliland defense minister Ahmed Haji during an interview with state media on 24 April, 2016.
Mr Adami was reacting to reports that Egyptian government has declared interests in supporting the armed forces of Somalia at this particular moment when authorities in Mogadisho are at loggerheads with Somaliland and Egyptians are in pursuit of continuing to secure full supply of the Nile waters regardless of the rest riparian needs. Denoting weapons never help Somalia but escalating the crisis only, said the defense minister. He further assured that the intervention of Egypt will not be accepted and will not influence the brotherly ties of Ethiopia and his country. Such attempt is futile, he added.
In his open letter to Egyptian leaders dated on April 12, 2016, the Somaliland foreign Minister his Excellency Mohamed Abdilahi made it abundantly clear that the Somali people will not die for the cause of Egypt in the 21st century. “You Egypt shall realize that in the 21st century Somalis will not die for your cause”. The foreign Minister reminded Egyptian leaders that the ill intentions in destabilizing the region of the horn of Africa for their short sighted interest based on greedy objectives of solely benefiting the Nile River waters at the expense of the upstream states are no more acceptable. The official statement of the foreign minister exposed the hidden agenda of Egypt to wage proxy war against Ethiopia using the blood of Somalis.
The hypocritical motive of Egyptian officials visit to Somalia is also another evidence to destabilize the region. In the official visit to Somalia recently led by the former Egyptian ambassador to Ethiopia, military and intelligence agencies were included in the official issue. Egypt wants to support and train the security and military forces. This intention is to support Mogadisho forces against the Somaliland aiming at creating greater Somalia which can open war against Ethiopia thus, putting the two countries into deadly war.
As one scholar put it rightly, Egypt is of the view that the breakaway of Somaliland and other regions of Somalia is in sharp contrast of its self-interest. It is now struggling to create a government who pursue a greater Somalia like Sied Bare and to enter deadly war with Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. The miscalculation is that the region will be busy in civil wars and Egypt will remain unchecked in utilizing the resources of the Nile River fully. A mad policy!
The shamefulness Egyptian delegation reflected so much interest stretching from gaining air force base to military ports in Somalia under the cover of supporting Saudi forces in the operation against Yemen. However, it is said that the authorities in Mogadisho like their brothers in Somaliland refused to the questions of Egyptian understanding their ill intentions to destabilize the region through the blood of Somalis.
Anyone can understand that how much the destructive policy of Egypt is nakedly exposed and rejected.
What should be done?
Ethiopia should follow the movement of the Egyptian carefully. Having in mind that Egypt is digging everything possible to thwart the peace and economic development of Ethiopia, Ethiopia should also quickly adapt its foreign policy to contain the hidden agenda of Egypt. The Foreign Policy must quickly be adapted in the manner it can effectively coin the violent and not-honest policy of Egypt. Ethiopians and the people of the region should not waste a second to defend their internal peace and brotherly ties from these greedy Egyptian leaders. The government of Ethiopia should extensively use the media to make his own people aware of the ghosts in Cairo.
Egypt is unquestionably meddling to obscure the ongoing regional economic and people to people ties in the Horn of Africa since it foolishly believed it is against its selfish interest. However, it will surely futile attempt since the peace, economic and other projects are going as per the interest of the people of the region. Too late for Egypt to halt them! The IGAD and the cooperation among the horn countries should be aware of the intentions of Egypt and should have relevant policies. Ethiopia should tighten its mutual cooperation with Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti, South Sudan, the Sudan and Kenya more than any time.
Ethiopia should again follow a proactive foreign policy towards Eritrea and Egypt. Careful political job should be done in South Sudan aiming at carefully containing Egypt from gaining base there. It must continue reducing internal political unrest first. Locally, good governance should be sustained in a manner it can satisfy Ethiopians, the steadily growing economic development should be diversified and maintained. It should also quickly realize the completion of the construction of the renaissance dam. The economic and security cooperation among the horn must be tightened.
The home grown mercenaries of Egypt should be beaten and exposed to the Ethiopians. Every Ethiopians must expose them mercilessly. Any country which gives any bases to Egypt should be watched carefully.
Last but not least, Ethiopia should inform the international community, the AU, EU, USA, and the UN about the destructive policy of Egypt in the region.
The Egyptian must know also that they are constantly upsetting the Ethiopian people to the extent that intolerable. Egyptian must know what will follow if Ethiopians lost their patience and trust in this regard. The only policy Egypt should pursue is the win-win situation not the other way round. The choice is either to swim or sink together, said the late prime minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi.
The writer is a scholar of International Relation and is researcher in the horn of Africa. He can be reached at email@example.com