The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)
This document provides an analysis of the current situation and the implications for aid agencies.
KEY IMPLICATIONS FOR AID AGENCIES
Clashes between Sudanese troops and Ethiopian militias linked to the tensions over the GERD may well continue in the al-Fashaga triangle, undermining the security situation in the area and further heightening insecurity for aid operations in the area. These could increase if downstream water levels drop as a result of the GERD’s filling.
Sudan and Egypt may continue to provide covert support to insurgent groups in Ethiopia in order to undermine the Ethiopian government’s legitimacy and ability to dictate events on the ground around the GERD site, again undermining the security situation in the area. This could affect aid supplies moving into Tigray from Sudan, however it is also possible that the Sudanese government views aid to Tigray as another mechanism to undermine the Ethiopian government’s position and so increases support for such efforts.
There is little sign that the Ethiopian government will bow to international pressure and accede to proposed UN mediation over the filling of the GERD.
SUMMARY OF SECURITY IMPLICATIONS
Sudan may provide covert support to the TDF (or other insurgent groups in Ethiopia) in order to undermine the Ethiopian government’s legitimacy and ability to dictate events on the ground around the GERD site.
Egypt and Sudan continue to press for a diplomatic rather than a military solution proposing mediation by the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and the African Union. The US administration has used aid in the past to exert pressure on the Ethiopian government in the negotiations related to the GERD.
Egypt is UNLIKELY to resort to overt military action but covert Egyptian military action to delay work is still possible. Egypt may possibly also provide support to the TDF (and other insurgent groups in Ethiopia) that have the capability to undermine security and thus Ethiopia’s power exports as the dam threatens Egypt’s near monopoly on energy exports in the region.
Ethiopia has installed modern air defences at the site. Flooding from any major damage to the dam would have catastrophic consequences downstream meaning that military action against the dam is HIGHLY UNLIKELY.