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Ethiopia's World / የኢትዮጵያ ዓለም

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Posts Tagged ‘East Africa’

ከጽዮን ተራሮች የተላከ? | ከየት እንደመጣ የማይታወቅ ኃይለኛ ድምጽ በኢትዮጵያም ተሰማ

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 30, 2018

መላው ዓለምን ያንቀጠቀጠ እና የሳይንስ ሊቃውንቱ ማብራሪያ ለመስጠት የተቸገሩበት አንድ አስገራሚ ክስተት ከሁለት ሳምንታት በፊት፡ እ.. በኖቬምበር 11 / 2018 .ም ተፈጥሮ ነበር።

የዚህ ክስተት ሚስጥር መንስኤ እስካሁን ድረስ ባይታወቅም ከመሬት መንቀጥቀጥ ጋር የተያያዘ ሊሆን እንደሚችል ተገምቷል። “ናሺናል ጂኦግራፊክ” እንደገለጸው ከሆነ የባሕር ውስጥ መሬት መንቀጥቀጥ የፈጠርው ሞገድ ማዕከል በማዳጋስካር ሰሜናዊ ጫፍ እና ምስራቅ አፍሪቃ መካከል በምተገኘዋ የማዮቴ ደሴት የባህር ዳርቻ ነው።

የድምጽ መልእክቱ በኢትዮጵያ፣ በኬንያ እና በዛምብያ በደንብ እንደተሰማ የድምጽ ዳሳሾች አስታውቀዋል። ከዚህ በተጨማሪ ይህ ኃይለኛ የሞገድ ድምጽ እንደ ቺሌ፣ ኒው ዚላንድ እና ካናዳ ያሉትን አገሮች ጨምሮ ውቂያኖሶችን አቋርጦ 11,000 ማይሎች ርቀት ላይ በምትገኘዋ ሃዋይ ደሴት ሳይቀር ይሰማ ነበር።

የኒው ዮርኩ ኮሎምቢያ ዩኒቨርሲቲ የርዕደመሬት ጥናት ተመራማሪ የሆኑት ጎራን ኤክስትሮም ስለ ኖቬምበር 11ክስተት፡ እንደዚያ ያለ ነገር በሕይወታቸው ዓይተው እንደማያውቁ ለ ናሽናል ጂኦግራፊ ተናግረዋል።

መታደል ነው፤ በእውነት እጅግ በጣም ተዓምረኛ የሆነ ዘመን ላይ ደርሰናል!

ምንጭ፦ National Geographic

[ትንቢተ ሕዝቅኤል ምዕራፍ ፵፫፥፪]

እነሆም፥ የእስራኤል አምላክ ክብር ከምሥራቅ መንገድ መጣ፤ ድምፁም እንደ ብዙ ውኆች ይተምም ነበር፥ ከክብሩም የተነሣ ምድር ታበራ ነበር።

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How Ethiopian Prince Scuppered Germany’s WW1 Plans

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on September 17, 2018

Image: 100 years ago Lij Iyasu and the German gov envoy, Frederick Wilhelm von Syburg

A hundred years ago, the Ethiopian prince Lij Iyasu was deposed after the Orthodox church feared he had converted to Islam. But it also scuppered Germany’s plans to draw Ethiopia into World War One, writes Martin Plaut.

In January 1915 a dhow slipped quietly out of the Arabian port of Al-Wajh. On board were a group of Germans and Turks, under the guise of the Fourth German Inner-Africa Research Expedition.

Led by Leo Frobenius, adventurer, archaeologist and personal friend of the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, its aim was nothing less than to encourage Ethiopia to enter World War One.

Germany believed that the Suez canal was Britain’s “jugular vein” allowing troops and supplies to be brought from Australia, New Zealand and India.

The war plan

An assault on the canal by Turkish and German forces had been repelled in early 1915, but it was clear that this was not the final attack.

Ethiopia – an independent nation – was the major power in the region and Germany believed that if it could persuade the Ethiopians to enter the war on its side, British and allied forces would have to be withdrawn from the Canal and other fronts.

The aims of the General Staff in Berlin were: “To force the enemy to commit large forces in defending their colonies in the Horn of Africa, thus weakening their European front and relieving the German forces fighting in German East Africa.”

This called for “insurrection” in Sudan with the aim of toppling British rule and attacks on French-ruled Djibouti and Italian Eritrea.

“The colonial Italian and French possessions on the shore of the Red Sea were difficult even impossible to defend without [the] commitment of large forces: chances were that an Ethiopian blow against the shores of the Red Sea and Suez Canal would either succeed at once, or that Italy and France would voluntarily withdraw in view of the critical situation of the European front, where all men and rifles were badly needed after the initial military successes of the Central powers.”

In Berlin’s view, the “double threat” of internal insurrection in Sudan and an Ethiopian offensive would pave the way for a successful attack on the Suez Canal by Turkish forces “supported by a German expeditionary force”.

The loss of the Canal would be a decisive blow against Britain and its allies, from which it would be unable to recover.

Mission failure

It was with this objective in mind that Frobenius was despatched to Ethiopia, with orders which mirrored the plans drawn up by the British for an Arab uprising against the Ottomans – plans which resulted in the Arab Revolt of 1916 and the legend of “Lawrence of Arabia”.

The Frobenius expedition landed in the Italian colony of Eritrea on 15 February but the Italians, who were British allies, arrested them.

Forbenius was deported back to Berlin, but the German high command were determined that this would not be the end of the story.

A fresh expedition was despatched in June 1915, this time led by Salomon Hall, who came from a Jewish Polish family with long ties to Ethiopia.

Again he was intercepted in Eritrea. Keen-eyed police spotted that although he wore sandals, he had corns, and was clearly not the Arab he was pretending to be.

Although the Hall mission failed, copies of the documents he carried reached the German mission to Ethiopia in October.

The German envoy in Addis Ababa, Frederick Wilhelm von Syburg, was instructed to do everything possible to convince the Ethiopian government to enter the war.

Von Syburg was ordered to explain to the Ethiopians that Germany had scored “great victories” in the war and made lavish promises of what might follow.

“Now the time has come for Ethiopia to regain the coast of the Red Sea driving the Italians home, to restore the Empire to its ancient size…

“Germany commits herself to recognize any territory which Ethiopia may conquer or occupy in military action against the Allied powers as being her rightful and permanent property and part of the Ethiopian Empire after the war.”

These plans found a ready audience with the heir to the Ethiopian throne, Lij Iyasu. The prince, who was never crowned, had become the effective ruler after his grandfather, Emperor Menelik II suffered a massive stroke in 1909, finally dying in December 1913.

On 10 April 1911 the 16-year-old Iyasu took the opportunity of the death of the regent, to claim personal rule. He was hardly ready for the position.

As historian Harold Marcus wrote: “The youth was hardly ready to govern: during his adolescence, he had mostly abandoned the classrooms for the capital’s bars and brothels. He had a short attention span, and lacked political common sense, if not a grand vision.”

That vision included reaching out to the Muslim peoples whom his grandfather had conquered during his expansion of Ethiopian rule from the Christian highlands into the surrounding Muslim lowlands.

Muslim empire

Lij Iyasu sent much of his time outside the capital, touring the Somali and Afar regions of his country. Iyasu was encouraged by the Ottoman envoy to Ethiopia, Ahmad Manzar.

Iyasu took a number of Muslim wives and soon rumours began spreading that the prince had adopted Islam himself.

Although his ancestors had included Muslim nobility who had converted to Christianity, the idea that Iyasu returned to Islam is contested by scholars.

What is clear is that the prince was very friendly with Muslims, including a longstanding British enemy, Sayyid, Muhammad Abd Allah al-Hassan, (known as the “Mad Mullah”) of Somaliland.

Iyasu – encouraged by the Ottomans – sent weapons and ammunition to the Sayyid. Turkey went further, promising that it would land troops to back the Sayyid.

By 1916 most of the pieces were in place. Iyasu appeared to have decided to throw in his lot with the Ottoman and German cause.

Iyasu took a number of Muslim wives and soon rumours began spreading that the prince had adopted Islam himself

He was reinforced in this view by the Turkish successes in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia.

Matters came to a head in September. Reports began to circulate that Iyasu had presented an Ethiopian flag with a Red Crescent and a quotation from the Koran to Somali troops.

As historian Haggai Erlich concluded: “His steps cannot be interpreted other than leading towards a new Ethiopia, centred on Harar as the capital of an Islamic, African empire, allied with Istanbul and under his rule.”

Excommunicated

The Ethiopian nobility and the church, fearing for the future of their nation as a bastion of Christianity, decided to act.

The head of the Orthodox church was persuaded – somewhat reluctantly – to excommunicate Iyasu.

On 27 September 1916, the prince was deposed. Iyasu fought back, but his troops were defeated and he fled into hiding. Iyasu was only captured in 1921, when he was finally imprisoned.

Ras Tefari was placed on the throne as regent for his cousin Empress Zewditu until he was crowned Haile Selassie in 1930.

Britain, France and Italy had encouraged the coup by lobbying the Ethiopian elite to act against Iyasu.

On 12 September, the Tripartite powers sent a formal message to the Ethiopian foreign minister complaining that Iyasu was supporting rebellion in Somaliland and demanded an immediate explanation.

With the prince out of the way, they breathed a collective sigh of relief.

As the UK ambassador to Ethiopia Wilfred Thesiger informed the Foreign Office in London: “the Government is now in the hands of those who are friendly to our cause.” The threat that Ethiopia might enter the war was at an end.

The attempt to set Ethiopia on a new course as part of Kaiser Wilhelm’s dream of inflaming the “whole Mohammedan world with wild revolt” had come to nought.

There had been no landing of Turkish or German troops from the Red Sea. Yet it had been a close-run thing.

If the Arab Revolt had not taken hold on the opposite side of the Red Sea and Iyasu had not played his cards quite so poorly, the outcome might have been very different, with catastrophic implications for Britain and its allies.

Source

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Ethiopia: A Regional Power in the Making?

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on September 5, 2018

When we think of countries competing for power and influence in the Horn of Africa, a short list of candidates comes to mind: the U.S., Iran, China, Russia, Turkey and various European powers. Notably absent from this list are countries from within the region itself. But this may be about to change. Ethiopia has recently launched a number of political, economic and foreign policy reforms aimed at redefining the country internally and externally. These moves are a sign that Addis Ababa wants to increase its influence in the region and might be laying the groundwork to emerge as a regional power.

Ethiopia is uniquely positioned to take on this role. It has a history of resisting foreign intervention and remaining, for the most part, free of external domination in a region that was widely colonized by European powers. Now, as the presence of foreign powers grows, Ethiopia will need to become more assertive if it wants to compete for influence with these outside forces. But it has a number of challenges with which it must contend if it is to project power beyond its borders. This Deep Dive will examine the country’s history that has led it to this unique point in time and the conditions it must meet before it will be able to wield more influence in the region.

Ethiopia’s Glory Days

At first glance Ethiopia may appear weak relative to the foreign powers with a growing interest in the area, but history shows that the country has the potential to be much more powerful than it is today. Two empires predating modern Ethiopia – the Aksum Empire (A.D. 100-940) and the Ethiopian Empire (1270-1974) – amassed enough power to define at various points the course of events on the Horn of Africa.

During its heyday, the Aksum Empire controlled approximately 500,000 square miles (1.25 million square kilometers) of territory in what is now northern Ethiopia, Eritrea, northern Sudan, southern Egypt, Djibouti and western Yemen. The empire prospered because of its position at the intersection of Africa, Arabia and the Greco-Roman world and its access to major maritime trade routes. A strong navy helped control sea lanes, while a sizable army ensured control over land. Much like Ethiopia today, the empire ruled over a multitude of diverse ethnic groups. According to some historians, the monarch maintained control over his subjects by dividing his forces into small groups and assigning them to a specific geographic area.

The territory controlled by the Ethiopian Empire was more limited, but the empire’s power was reflected in its ability to continuously repel foreign invasion. During the Abyssinian-Adal and Ethiopian-Egyptian wars, it faced aggressors that had the backing of the Ottoman Empire. The Egyptians were repulsed after two years of fighting, while the Adal Sultanate occupied Ethiopia for 14 years before being pushed out by domestic forces with support from the Portuguese. At the 1885 Berlin Conference, where European powers partitioned countries as part of the Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was one of only two countries (the other being Liberia) that was not divided. A decade later, Italy tried to colonize Ethiopia but was defeated. Italy’s second invasion of Ethiopia in the mid-1930s was more successful, but its success was short-lived – Italy was uprooted during World War II. So with the exception of two brief occupations, the country managed to maintain its independence, preventing any major foreign power from completely monopolizing the Horn of Africa.

Federalism Takes Hold

It may be hard to believe that Ethiopia once had the power possessed by these empires, but that history has helped shape the country into what it is today. The area is one of the longest continuously inhabited parts of the world, with Egyptian historical references to Ethiopia going as far back as 980 B.C. Though Ethiopia’s borders have changed over the centuries, its current borders fall within those of previous empires, and many of the same ethnic groups are still present there. Because Ethiopia has, for the most part, maintained its independence, it has been able to preserve the cultures that developed there over centuries.

Ethiopia has a population of over 100 million people and is dominated by two religions, Islam and Christianity. According to the United Nations, more than 80 ethnic groups reside in the country. The largest is the Oromo, which accounts for 32 percent of the population. The Amhara are the second-largest, making up 28 percent of the population. The Tigrayans and Somalis each represent another 6.5 percent of the population. Another nine ethnic groups have 1 million or more members. Both the Aksum and Ethiopian empires managed these differences by centralizing power and preventing rebellion by force. When the Ethiopian Empire fell in 1974, a military dictatorship took power – and it, too, used force to keep the population in line.

But when the military regime was abolished in 1987, an ethnic-based federalist system of government was established. In 1994, a new constitution was adopted, and the country was divided into nine regions and two autonomous cities based on the ethnolinguistic makeup of the local population. It was thought that giving the different ethnic groups greater autonomy would make it easier for the central government to manage the country’s differences while keeping it united.

But there have been some bumps in the road. In 2016, there were widespread protests against the central government. The unrest started when members of the Oromo community rejected government development plans for Oromo-majority areas and then demanded more representation in the federal government, which had been dominated by members of the Tigray ethnic group since the country held its first elections as a republic in 1995. Other ethnic groups across the country, including the Amhara, soon joined the protests. Some analysts have argued that the federalist system has been ineffective and that the ethnic groups should break away from Ethiopia and form their own states, similar to what happened in Yugoslavia.

But supporters of the federalist approach say it is the best system available, even if its execution has been flawed. One of the flaws has been that people who don’t belong to the dominant ethnic group have been left out of decision-making, particularly at the regional level. Another is that the central government never really represented multiple ethnic groups as it was designed to. After multiple groups united to oust the military regime, the Tigrayans monopolized power and used force to keep the other groups in line. Ultimately, the 2016 protests forced the prime minister to resign and jump-started renewed efforts to form a strong but inclusive central government.

The new government, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, took office in early April and now finds itself in a decisive moment in the country’s history. The Horn of Africa has always been valuable geopolitical real estate, given the trade routes that pass by its shores. But the region has also been fraught with challenges, including the spread of extremist violence and spillover effects from conflicts in the Middle East. Foreign powers are increasingly trying to gain a foothold in places like Djibouti and, to a lesser extent, Somalia and Sudan, particularly through cooperation on military matters. Ethiopia has always been wary of foreign interference in the region, but it is even more so now after the 2016 protests left it vulnerable to intervention. Now that it’s stabilized, it can either stay out of the affairs of other countries in the region or assert itself as a leader. Recent government moves – and Abiy’s statement that “Ethiopia will get back its lost glory” at a political rally in the capital in June – indicate that Addis Ababa has chosen the latter.

Conditions for Asserting Power

But before it can restore even some of its past glory, it needs to make some changes. To project power in the region, the Ethiopian government must achieve three main objectives: maintain control over the domestic population, secure its borders and diversify its sea access. The rise of the Aksum and Ethiopian empires was possible only with these three conditions in place. And indeed, there are signs that the country is already moving in this direction.

Domestic Stability

Before adopting a more assertive foreign policy, a country needs to have its own affairs in order. This includes maintaining stability and peace at home. In the wake of the 2016 unrest, the government is trying to re-establish domestic stability in three ways. First, it is making changes on the political front. Abiy is the first prime minister from the Oromo ethnic group, and under his leadership, Ethiopia seems prepared to develop an authentic federalist system that will be more representative of the general population than it had been in the past. He also has both a Muslim and Christian background. He has already replaced the heads of various security forces in the country and criticized the use of brutal force by past governments. He invited exiled opposition groups like Ginbot 7 back into the country and called on local leaders in conflict-ridden areas to resign. So far, the response has been positive: Multiple opposition groups unilaterally suspended the use of arms in all self-defense activities, and the chairman of the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement, the ruling party in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region, resigned after ethnic clashes in the region.

Ethiopia is also trying to build a sense of unity and shared identity that supersedes ethnic affiliations, a concept popularly referred to as Ethiopiawinet. With a unified population, it will be better able to resist intrusion by outside powers and work toward common goals. The central government would also be empowered to act more decisively and independently in international affairs with the support of Ethiopians from all ethnic and religious groups. This wouldn’t require an overhaul of the federalist structure and would allow ethnic groups to maintain some autonomy. The government has made some efforts toward building a sense of unity by reminding Ethiopians of the country’s history of resisting Egyptian, Ottoman and Italian invasions, a point in which the people of Ethiopia take great pride. The government can use this shared history as a way to motivate the population to restore the country’s past glory or, at least, resist attempts at foreign interference.

On the economic front, the government wants to bring back the strong growth rates the country experienced just a few years ago. The recent bouts of domestic unrest resulted in temporary factory closures, road blockades, restricted internet access and slumping investor confidence. Poor financial management, drought and famine have also taken a toll on the economy. The country is now facing a declining currency and liquidity problems, a heavy dependence on imports and growing debt. The government’s plan to address these problems involves full or partial privatization of public enterprises, including major companies like Ethio Telecom, Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Electric Power, and Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise, as well as sugar industries, railway projects and industrial parks. There are also plans to develop partnerships between local and foreign private sector firms. Finally, the government is looking for ways to increase exports to stimulate growth and bring in more foreign exchange.

Secure Borders

Ethiopia has tried to secure its borders by improving relations with its neighbors, in the hopes that it can eventually allocate resources to other areas and provide a secure environment for economic development. But in a region plagued by instability, that hasn’t been easy. Ethiopia has fought multiple conflicts with Somalia and Eritrea over border disputes, and Somalia and South Sudan have been engaged in civil wars for years, with some of the violence spilling over into Ethiopian territory. In each of these cases, Ethiopia is now trying to resolve the conflicts or, at the very least, reduce their impact.

In June, Ethiopia said it would implement the 2000 Algiers Agreement, which ended the most recent war with Eritrea, without any preconditions – a rare sign of conciliation in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea’s president responded by meeting with his Ethiopian counterpart in Addis Ababa. Mending ties with Eritrea benefits Ethiopia on multiple fronts. First, it reduces a long-standing security risk, thus freeing up military resources to be used elsewhere. It will also help improve investor confidence in the country. And it may give Ethiopia access to Eritrea’s ports. Relations between the two countries have been tense in the past because the Tigray have been among the most antagonistic groups toward Eritrea, which borders the Tigray region in Ethiopia. In fact, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, a party in Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, initially opposed reconciliation with Eritrea and was the last major group to support the government on the issue.

Ethiopia has an equally complicated past with Somalia. Fighting between the two countries has broken out five times since the early 20th century. But relations have been more cordial of late. The leaders of both countries have expressed strong interest in economic integration and agreed to further enhance security cooperation. Ethiopian troops have played a key role in African Union counterterrorism missions in Somalia, which are set to wind down in the next couple of years. Once that happens, Somalia will still need security support, which Ethiopia could provide.

In June, Ethiopia announced that it will start its first crude oil production tests in the Ogaden region – officially, and confusingly, called the Somali region – which borders Somalia. There are plans to build a pipeline that will eventually export hydrocarbons from the Somali region via Djibouti. This could be a very lucrative project for Ethiopia, and building up security along the Ethiopian-Somali border will help ensure it is executed effectively, especially because these types of projects have been targets for militants in other countries.

In South Sudan, Ethiopia recently helped broker a cease-fire deal in a five-year civil war. In 2013, at the beginning of the conflict, Ethiopia tried to contain the fighting, but it nonetheless resulted in a flood of refugees – and occasional casualties – on Ethiopia’s side of the border. According to estimates, there are now 400,000-500,000 South Sudanese in Ethiopia’s Gambella region. Ethiopia thus has an interest in ensuring that the cease-fire turns into a lasting peace.

Port Access

As a landlocked country, Ethiopia needs to find a way to access ports if it wants to engage in global trade. Addis Ababa lost direct access to the sea when Eritrea gained independence in 1991. This was a huge blow to Ethiopia’s geostrategic standing in the region. The country suddenly became much more dependent on neighboring states to send its exports to global markets. Sea access would also be necessary if Ethiopia wanted to defend its interests in the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden. Though the idea of an Ethiopian navy sounds far-fetched at this point, the prime minister has reportedly said the country should consider developing some sort of navy in the future. In fact, the Aksum Empire had a formidable navy of its own.

For now, however, Ethiopia’s focus remains primarily on its economic interests. Some 90-95 percent of Ethiopia’s exports are delivered by sea, and most of them pass through Djibouti, which has one of Africa’s few deep-water container port terminals. Depending so heavily on such a small country for virtually all of its exports is a huge vulnerability, and Addis Ababa is growing increasingly concerned about the presence of foreign naval forces in Djibouti. Right now, Djibouti and Ethiopia have a strong relationship, and any actor that could alter that dynamic is perceived as a direct threat. There is already some evidence that Djibouti is under pressure from foreign countries that have interests there. In February, it seized a container terminal operated by United Arab Emirates-based DP World, saying the contract between the two parties was infringing on Djibouti’s sovereignty. The government had previously said the port would remain “in the hands of our country” until it found new investors.

To mitigate this vulnerability, Ethiopia is now trying to gain control of, rather than mere access to, ports along the coast of the Horn of Africa. In April, Djibouti and Ethiopia brokered a deal to jointly develop and operate the Port of Djibouti. The government of Djibouti has approved Ethiopia’s proposal to acquire a share of the port, though they have yet to agree on the details. In return, Djibouti will get shares in state-owned Ethiopian companies. In addition, Ethiopia recently acquired a 19 percent stake in Somaliland’s Berbera port. (DP World owns 51 percent of the port and Somaliland has 30 percent.) Under the deal, Ethiopia has committed to construct the 480-mile (780-kilometer) road between the port and the Ethiopian border town of Togochale. Addis Ababa is looking into other port projects, including a deal with Kenya that would allow Ethiopia to acquire land on the island of Lamu as part of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport project, as well as joint investment projects on four potential ports in Somalia. Ultimately, Ethiopia needs guaranteed port access through a partner it can either control or rely on with confidence.

On the surface, all these moves could be seen as motivated not by aspirations for regional leadership but by a desire to grow the economy. But considering the rising presence of foreign forces in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia’s historical resistance to foreign powers in the region and Abiy’s recent statements, it appears that Ethiopia is laying the groundwork to assert itself and compete against outside powers that are increasingly active there. This may take many years if not decades to achieve, if it is achieved at all. But at the moment, the region is without a leader – a country that can help resolve some of the conflicts that have plagued it and prevent foreign forces from amassing too much influence there. Ethiopia has proved in the past and, to an extent, is proving today that it is willing and able to do both.

Source

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Egypt, Ethiopia Headed For War Over Water

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 1, 2013

To illustrate the Nile’s importance, we should remember that Egypt is the largest desert oasis in the world. Life in Egypt is concentrated on the river banks where 90 million people live. In short, any Egyptian government should have one eye on the Horn of Africa — on Ethiopia, where the source of the Nile lies — and another eye on the Sinai Peninsula and the Levant, and the balance of power there. History has shown that most of Egypt’s invaders entered through that door.

Last week, the Lebanese website “As-Safir” expressed some interesting thoughts on questions related to the NILE issue. The writing begins with a prophetic remark about a possible war between Ethiopia and – after highlighting the importance of the river Nile for Egypt, the writer went on to outline, that, unlike in the past, the current geopolitical framework strengthens Ethiopia’s position, and gave six key indicators, and a recommendation for it:

First, the disintegration of Somalia, Ethiopia’s traditional rival with which it fought a tough war over the Ogaden region, removed the geopolitical balance facing Ethiopia’s political ambitions in the region. Ethiopia exploited Somalia’s disintegration to strengthen its regional presence in the Horn of Africa. For years, Ethiopia has been “fighting terrorism” emerging from Somalia. Ethiopia has been doing that under an American umbrella from 2006 to 2009 and then again since 2011 until now.

The second indicator is represented by the partition of Sudan into two states: Sudan and South Sudan. That development has weakened Sudan (and thus Egypt) in the Horn of Africa and allowed Ethiopia to participate, since 2012, in the UN peacekeeping forces in the Abyei region, which is disputed between Sudan and South Sudan.

The third indicator is the following: the weakening of Sudan has shifted the balance of power in Ethiopia’s favor. The crisis in Darfur and the international isolation of the Sudanese president (an international arrest warrant was issued against him by the International Court of Justice in The Hague in 2009) has significantly limited Khartoum’s ability to maneuver in the Nile conflict.

The fourth indicator is the improved relationship between Ethiopia and the West in general, and between Ethiopia and the US in particular, after Addis Ababa emerged as a reliable partner in the Horn of Africa. Every year, Ethiopia gets $4 billion in military, development and food assistance. But the matter is not limited to direct aid. The West has started looking at Ethiopia differently in regard to development projects, such as the construction of dams in Ethiopia. The West had opposed such projects for decades because they were considered a threat to regional security.

The fifth indicator is about China. China is Ethiopia’s primary trade partner and Beijing has expressed willingness to finance a dam construction in Ethiopia and offered Chinese expertise in building large dams. China wishes to have a foothold in the region. There is oil in South Sudan and the Congo has mineral resources.

The sixth indicator is the weakening of Egypt’s political weight in the Horn of Africa. Egypt has no role in Somalia and was not even a key party in the negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan. Egypt’s preoccupation with internal matters is weakening its ability to confront regional and international players, such as China. Even though Egypt is the biggest market for Chinese goods among the 11 basin countries, China has favored other considerations over Egyptian priorities and Egypt’s rights in the Nile waters. So much so that China has offered its technological expertise in constructing dams, which is a complete disregard to Egyptian rights. What will Egypt do about all that? Only God knows.

In the coming years, Egypt and Ethiopia may be forced to fight a “water war” because Ethiopia’s ambitions contradict Egypt’s historical and legal rights in the Nile waters. Ethiopia can only be deterred by the regional and international balance of powers, which in recent years has favored Ethiopia.

A recommendation

In the coming years, Egypt and Ethiopia may be forced to fight a “water war” because Ethiopia’s ambitions contradict Egypt’s historical and legal rights in river waters. Ethiopia can only be deterred by the regional and international balance of powers, which in recent years has favored Ethiopia.

The government of Hisham Qandil (an irrigation expert, not a diplomat, legal expert or strategist) seems unable to manage such a complex issue with legal, political, economic, military and international aspects. His government is unable to solve everyday problems that are less complex, such as security, traffic, and fuel and food supplies. This portends dire consequences for Egypt.

What is needed is a way to manage the crisis and use Egyptian soft power toward Ethiopia, especially the Coptic Orthodox Church, which is the Ethiopian Church’s mother church. It is necessary to form a fixed Egyptian team to manage this highly sensitive issue. The team should go beyond party affiliation and include leading Egyptian Nile specialists. Ideological or religious affiliation should not be a factor in choosing that Egyptian crisis team. What is important should be the capabilities and competencies of the team members, who will come from the “clay” of the country, not from a particular group, party or political current. Clay, to those who don’t know, is what Egyptians call their country’s soil, which is a fertile soil resulting from the mixing with the Nile water.

Will Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi realize the seriousness of the situation and deal with that issue as a major national matter and quickly implement the required policies and procedures, or will he hesitate, as usual, and go down in history as someone who squandered the historic rights of Egypt and its future generations?

What is missing in the article is:

  • Egypt’s old-fashioned way (ignore the woman if you want to get her) to make its lifeline, top national security priority of its government less publicized, while conducting secretive operations to affect the development and stability of Ethiopia will not work this time. If I ware an Egyptian leader, I would have made official visits every other month to Addis Abeba, to beg Ethiopia to drink shared waters, or they will remain sited in Cairo drinking their empty pride. During the tragic years of famine and sufferings in Ethiopia, Egyptians, even the richest ones, were nowhere to show a single gesture of compassion and solidarity towards the starving children of Ethiopia. Mind you, these people are drinking and eating Ethiopian water and soil. Well, they will be begging soon!

  • Egypt already has to import 60% of its grain to feed its current population of 90. By 2050, its population is expected to increase to 115 million, greatly increasing its demand for already scarce water

Indeed, Egypt’s options are to

  • go to war with Ethiopia to obtain more water

  • cut population growth

  • improve irrigation efficiency

  • dismantle the Aswan High Dam, as 20% of the water is lost to evaporation

  • buy water from Ethiopia

  • import more grain to reduce the need for irrigation water

  • work out honest water-sharing agreements with Ethiopia and other Nile riparian countries

  • suffer the harsh economic and human consequences of extreme hydrologic poverty

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Are Kenyan Athletes Doped?

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 24, 2012

Sports fans all over the world have recently witnessed an increasing number of spectacular doping cases, leading to considerable frustration in the public. However, our knowledge regarding the prevalence of doping is still quite limited, leading some people to speculate that (nearly) all professional athletes are doped and possibly even have to be doped to be good enough to compete successfully in highly selective tournaments.

How about East African athletes?

A well-known German sports journalist claims to have found evidence of widespread doping by traveling undercover to Kenya, posing as sports agent. According to him, doping is common in Kenya, among locals, but also among elite foreign athletes who travel there to train. One athlete mentioned by name is Pamela Jelimo, although he can only link her to a doctor who offered to perform blood doping, and cannot present at the moment a direct proof of her being doped.

 

Here is an interview with Hajo Seppelt on German public radio:

The full report ran on German state TV, ARD.

Related story: “Kenyans to be the Subject of Doping Research

My Note: I don’t know whether there is some truth to the above claim – or it simply could be the usual European jealousy and disappointment in respect to their inferior status in long-distance running. Well, Europeans may either join East Africans in chewing the mysterious plant, “Khat”, or they have to prohibit it. In any case, it was very surprising for Kenyan athletes, specially the female ones to dominate and outperform Ethiopians during the last World Athletics Championships in South Korea.

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East & South Africa Have the World’s Best Hotels

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 16, 2011

While the mainstream Media, NGOs and Aid agencies are all busy painting endlessly the picture of Africa, which is of helpless victims trapped by bleak prospects on a primitive continent, some great sites like, ‘TRAVEL + LEISURE’, bring us nice and prejudice-free presentations regularly. The site made a list of the World’s best hotels and incredibly, seven of the top 12 hospitality sites are located in Africa.

Here are this year’s winners:

No. 12

Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club
Nanyuki, Kenya

No. 10

Serengeti Migration Camp
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

No. 9

Kirawira Camp Western Serengeti
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

No. 4

ol Donyo Lodge
Mbirikani Group Ranch,
Kenya

No. 3

Royal Malewane
Kruger, South Africa

No. 2

Singita Sabi Sand at Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve (Ebony Lodge, Boulders Lodge, Castleton Camp)
Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, South Africa

No. 1

Singita Grumeti Reserves (Sasakwa Lodge, Sabora Tented Camp, Faru Faru Lodge)
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Posted in Ethiopia, Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Egypt Should Pay For The Water

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 24, 2010

Without some kind of negotiated agreement on how to share the waters, the risk is growing that conflicts will occur and those conflicts will be violent.”

Talking about war

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told Reuters on Tuesday that Egypt could not win a war with Ethiopia over the River Nile and that Cairo was supporting rebel groups in an attempt to destabilize Ethiopia.

Well, the most valuable commodity in the world today, and likely to remain so for much of this century, is not oil, not natural gas, not even some type of renewable energy. It’s water—clean, safe, fresh water.

When you want to spot emerging trends, always follow the money. Today, many of the world’s leading investors and most successful companies are making big bets on water. Do a little research, and it’s easy to see why. There simply isn’t enough freshwater to go around, and the situation is expected to get worse before it gets better.

According to current studies, the worldwide scarcity of usable water worldwide already has made water more valuable than oil.

In the Unites States, in a state where water has become an increasingly scarce commodity, a growing number of farmers are betting they can make more money selling their water supplies to thirsty cities and farms than by growing crops.

In the past, Ethiopia has never put anything in place to manage her immense water resources, not to mention regulated river systems.

Predictions of “water wars” are commonplace, and yet they hardly ever happen: It’s almost always cheaper to cut a deal and share the water. But the Nile basin contains 400 million inhabitants, and Egypt and Sudan, with only 120 million people, are using almost all of its water.

After he signed the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat said: “The only matter that could take Egypt to war again is water.”

Well, the world kept turning, and now a potential war over water is creeping onto Egypt’s agenda.

Egypt is the economic and cultural superpower of the Arab world: Its 78 million people account for almost a third of the world’s Arabic-speaking population. But 99 percent of it is open desert, and if it were not for the Nile river running through that desert, Egypt’s population would not be any bigger than Libya’s (5 million). So Cairo takes a dim view of anything that might diminish the flow of that river. For thousands of years Egypt has arrogantly defended its right to use the Nile’s waters as it pleases.

Now, amid warnings of conflict and crop failure, the balance of power is starting to change as other countries like Ethiopia make new claims on the water.

If nations become rich and influential by selling their natural resources like Oil and Gas, countries like Ethiopia should also begin charging those ungrateful Egypt and Sudan for using the waters of the river Nile. Ethiopia has authority and moral legitimacy to charge a higher fee for its rivers then oil and gas.

There’s no easy way out of this impasse. But one possible alternative option would be for Ethiopia to act as Egypt’s “water banker.”

Lake Nasser, the 340-mile-long reservoir behind the Aswan High Dam, holds a whopping 157 billion cubic meters of water. But an estimated 10 billion cubic meters–nine percent of the water that reaches Lake Nasser each year–never makes it to a faucet or an irrigation ditch; it evaporates into the cloudless desert skies of southern Egypt. That’s enough drinking water for 20 million Egyptians–a quarter of the population.

Evaporation isn’t much of a problem in equatorial Africa, where the White Nile begins, and there’s a lot of fertile land as well.

Egypt should invest some of its water there, rather than lose it to evaporation in the Sahara.



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Volcanoes Of Ethiopia

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on September 13, 2008

Alid

Location: 14.88 N, 39.82 E
Elevation: 2,985 ft.(910m)


Alid is a little-visited volcanic structure in the Danakil depression of Eritrea/Ethiopia and covers an area of about 20 sq. miles (30 sq Km). Alid is actually a structural uplift – a dome – whose summit has collapsed.

There have also been explosive eruptions which deposited pyroclastic flows around the uplift. So Alid is a very peculiar type of volcano-tectonic structure.

Alid has been very important geographically. Before Alid was uplifted the Red Sea covered part of Afar. After the Alid activity the sea could not enter Afar and gradually the water there evaporated, leaving behind vast plains of white salts.

Amoissa

Location: 10.069 N, 40.837 E
Elevation: 5,684ft. (1,733m)

Amoissa, also known as Abida, or Dabita, is a caldera that is east of Ayelu volcano and is considered its twin. Steam still sometimes leaks out around the caldera walls, suggesting that hot rocks exist at depth.

Ayelu

Location: 10.082 N, 40.702 E
Elevation: 7,035ft. (2,145m)

 

Ayelu is a stratovolcano in the Ethiopian rift valley. The volcano has no historic eruptions but probably has erupted sometime in the last ten thousand years; unconfirmed activity is reported from 1928.

Butajira

Location:8.05N, 38.35E
Elevation:7,482 ft. (2,281 m)

Butajira, also locally known as Ara Shatan, is the only maar in a 20 km line of recent cinder cones and lava flows on the western margin of the Ethiopian Rift Valley, about 140 km south of Addis Ababa.

Traditionally, the origin of Ara Shatan (whose Guraghinya meaning is ‘Devil’s Lake’) is ascribed to a wizard who long ago fought the local people. When the wizard was defeated he plunged his spear into the ground and angrily cried, “Let this be the devil’s home” whereupon the ground collapsed forming the crater. Local informants maintain that a stone thrown into the lake would be hurled back by the devil.

Dendi

Location: 9.0N, 38.0E
Elevation: 10,692.8 ft (3260 m)


Dendi is a 5 mile (8 km) wide caldera in central Ethiopia, quite close to Wonchi caldera. The most remarkable thing in Dendi is a wonderful, brightly painted Ethiopian Orthodox church. The peak of the Dendi volcano is Mt. Boti, and Lake Dendi lies 118 meters below this point.

Dubbi

Location: 13.6N, 41.8E
Elevation: 5,330 feet (1,625 m)

Dubbi is a tall stratovolcano rising near the coast of the Red Sea (top of image). The volcano is also called Edd, Gebel Dubbey, and Djebel Dubbeh. There are at least 19 craters near the top of the volcano with the largest being roughly 100 x 50 m.

Erta Ale

Location:Lat.13.6N,Long.40.7E
Elevation: 2,011 feet (613 m)

Erta Ale – Queen of all volcanoes — is a shield volcano in the Afar region of Ethiopia. Erta Ale is a remote and rarely visited volcano that is known currently to have an active lava lake in its summit crater.

Erta Ale has undergone seven eruption events in the past 125 years. Three of the early eruption dates, 1873, 1903, and 1904 are uncertain. However, 1906, 1940, 1960, and 1967 are well established events. Erta Ale has been erupting continuously since 1967.

Fantale

Location: 8.975 N, 39.93 S
Elevation: 6,584 ft. (2,007 m)

Fantale is a stratovolcano on the floor of the Ethiopian Rift Valley. Steam issues from vents along the inner walls of the volcano’s 6 km (4 miles) wide caldera.

Gariboldi (or Kone) Caldera

Location: 8.80N, 39.69E
Elevation: 1619 m

Air photo from the Geologic Survey of Ethiopia shows two lobes for this caldera. The main road from Addis Ababa to Djibouti passes along the join of the two collapses.

The older name of the caldera, Gariboldi, supposedly comes from the engineer who built this road during the temporary Italian occupation of Ethiopia in the early 1940s. The new name, Kone, is a local tribal word.

Mega

Lat. 4.08, Long. 37.42
Elevation: 1067 m

The Mega volcanic field includes a number of maars that cut through ancient crystalline rock . If the area did not have a desert climate, the maar would probably contain a lake.

Sabober

Location: 8.97N, 39.93E

Sabober is a small tuff ring in Ethiopia within a few kilometers of Fantale caldera. Local legends state that the dark lava flow or some other nearby flow, erupted in about 1820.

Shala

Location: 7.47N, 38.55E
Elevation: 6,806 ft.(2,075 m)

Lake Shala is the deepest lake (257m) and the largest crater (~12×15 km) in Ethiopia. Volcanologically, the Shala basin is a caldera which probably collapsed during the late Pliocene (about 3-4 mya) following large eruptions of ignimbrites and pumice. The relations between the pre-existing volcanic rock of the rift valley and Shala’s products are unclear, but it is likely that the ignimbrites around Langano, Zuway, and other places in the rift came from Shala. Thick, light colored pumice units exposed high on the south rim of the caldera undoubtedly are from the Shala eruption. Erosionally isolated stacks of ignimbrite and pumice occur on the north rim of the caldera near the track to Abiata.

Chitu is a beautiful crater lake (crater diameter of 1.6 x 1.2 km) with a population of 5,000-10,000 flamingos. The crater’s rim (about 80 m above lake level) is composed of gray tuff containing bomb sags, cross-bedding and dune/antidune structures, comfirming that it erupted through a shallow lake.

 

Wonchi

Location: 9.0N, 38.0E
Elevation: 11,316 ft (3450 m)

Wonchi is a 3.0 by 2.5 mile (4.8 by 4.0 km) wide caldera in the central Ethiopian highlands close to Dendi caldera. Wonchi contains a single crater lake about 1476 feet (450 meters) below the rim of the volcano.

Zukwala

Location: 8.32N, 38.52E
Elevation: 9184 ft (2800 m)

Zukwala is easily the tallest mountain near Adis Ababa. It stands 3600 ft (1100m) above the surrounding plain. The volcano is 7.5 miles (12 km) wide at its base. Many plants cover Zukwala’s slopes. There is a small lake in the bottom of the caldera. Natives of the area believe that the water from the lake will cure illnesses. Two churches have been built on the rim of the caldera.

Posted in Ethiopia | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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