Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Letters from Egypt: The Country’s Finest Brainstorm

I know, it seems impossible. I mean is there another leader that could possibly make so many public blunders, more than former US president George W. Bush? Remember that time he left his microphone on at a UN meeting? Mind you there were plenty of other cringe-worthy moments from his administration. Well, if anyone is in the running, it has to be the Egyptian politicians who were recently televised discussing Ethiopia’s plans to build the Renaissance Dam (brief background of the project detailed at end of post).

Take a gander at this primetime TV brought to you by no other than Morsi and Friends with English subtitles…

One of my favorites had to be leveraging Egypt’s national soccer team as well as exploiting local artists. How thoughtful indeed. Or how about the one to spread rumors that Egypt purchased more fighter jets? I guess these guys don’t realize who they purchase said jets from. Psstt, hey you with the beard – you get those items from the US. Do you really think Ethiopia is going to believe that you were capable of buying more when you don’t even have money to pay your oil and gas bills (not to mention to potentially rally against Israel, a US ally)?

The Al Nour party member (Salafis, better known as Islamists) said that Ethiopia, Israel and the US are behind the dam’s construction. In mid-October 2011, Italian firm Salini Construttori S.P.A. began importing the items for what will be Africa’s largest hydrodam. France’s Alstom signed a €250-million contract with Metals & Engineering Corporation (METEC) to supply turbines and generators for the hydropower plant in January 2013. The only other backers are Chinese.

The Al Azhar sheikh thought that because Ethiopia’s foreign minister laughed "in the faces of Egyptians" in response to Egypt's claims that Israel was behind the dam (some people think Israel will hope for the power generated from the Renaissance although there are no transmission lines or infrastructure to remotely make that a possibility in the near to mid future). The sheikh took it as an insult, but I guess the foreign minister forgot that you just can’t get through to stupid.

What is very appalling is the same Salafi suggesting that Egypt arm rebels in Ethiopia (Oromo Liberation Front and Ogden National Liberation Front), although he wasn't the only one to voice this bright idea. Not once did he ever mention diplomacy, but instead jumped immediately to extreme measures. And yet they wonder why people are fearful of the Muslim Brotherhood, aka Ikhwan, being in power. It’s because they seem to never think of anything but violence to get their way.

It’s clear that the Morsi-led regime is trying to divert attention from mounting tensions with large-scale demonstrations planned for June 30 (although rumors have protests starting on Friday, June 28). And as seen in the past, what better way than to blame Israel as the main culprit of the Renaissance?

Maybe Morsi knew exactly what he was doing by televising this broadcast unbeknownst to the “brainstorming committee” hoping to make himself seem smart in a room full of idiots. Then again, probably not.

For a brief background, the Renaissance Dam will be Africa’s largest hydropower project once completed. It’s been in the works for awhile, but the late Ethiopian president, Meles, pushed plans through once Egypt was dealing with a revolution and Sudan dealing with seceding South Sudan. The dam, formerly known as the Great Millennium Dam, will be constructed on the Nile River just 40 km from the border of Sudan. It is estimated that the hydro project will eventually produce 5,250 MW of electricity with the first 700 MW originally due to come online by 2015.

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