The Deputy Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Khalid Bin Sultan, joined in the fray in March, declaring that “There are fingers messing with water resources of Sudan and Egypt which are rooted in the mind and body of Ethiopia. They do not forsake an opportunity to harm Arabs without taking advantage of it.” While it is not clear exactly whose fingers the Prince sees messing around with Ethiopia’s water (even the World Bank refuses to finance the dam), the Saudi ambassador to Ethiopia disavowed the Prince’s words, opening up a kind of empty rhetorical space of international hegemony.
On June 12, 2013, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, tried to even out the situation: “Both countries need to use the Nile and I think it is important to just have discussions that are open… not in the context of colonial power, but in context of pan-Africanism and African renaissance.” Yet the notion of sharing the Nile may completely alter the Egyptian water plans, requiring vast bureaucratic adjustments that will prove all but impossible in the interim years between revolution and the brass ring of stability.
According to a Cairo University study written by the Group of Nile Basin, Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam project “in the eyes of the majority of Egyptians amounts to a flagrant assault on all the basic fundamental laws and the international norms.”
Given popular animus against the Renaissance Dam, as well as Ethiopia’s steadfast pursuit of the project, there is worry that the current military government of Egypt will see a fight as a chance to rally a politically tumultuous climate. It is in fact very possible that Eastern Africa is on the brink of war over the same resource that brought life to the first humans—the water of the Nile.