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Egypt Military Gears For Water War
LONDON [MENL] -- Egypt's military, financed by the United States, has been preparing for what could be a war for control of the Nile.
Western intelligence sources said the military command has urged President Mohammed Morsi for a buildup meant to block any attempt to divert the Nile. They said the military envisioned a crisis with Ethiopia that could threaten water supplies to Egypt and Sudan.
"For the Egyptian military and government, this is perhaps the most burning security issue today," a source said.
The sources said Morsi has sought to form a military alliance with Sudan to prevent Ethiopia from constructing a dam along the Nile. The Renaissance Dam was meant to draw 84 billion cubic meters of water from the Nile, sufficient for hydroelectric power.
"The military has been preparing for the prospect that air strikes would be ordered to stop construction or simply destroy the Ethiopian dam," the source said.
Egypt, which receives 60 percent of the river's water, has insisted on preferential rights to the Nile. The sources said the Morsi regime was expected to issue a stark warning to Addis Ababa during its next session of the Egyptian-Sudanese-Ethiopian technical committee in late May 2013. The Nile is shared by 10 countries.
"Certain measures have to be followed to make sure that Ethiopia gets the water necessary for storage in the dam in line with Egypt's consent and needs," an Egyptian official told the state-owned Al Ahram daily on April 18.
The sources said Egyptian military planning was based on the delivery of the new F-16 Block 52 multi-role fighter from the United States. They said the Egyptian Air Force, expected to receive 20 such aircraft in 2013, has determined that the latest F-16 variant, which included extended fuel tanks, would enable an attack on the Ethiopian dam.
Egypt has determined that the Renaissance Dam would comprise a loss of between eight and 18 million cubic meters per year. The sources said Cairo has repeatedly warned the United States of the danger of the Ethiopian project.
"The U.S. input here is crucial, because its aircraft would be used for any military operation against Ethiopia," the source said.
Middle East News Line