Sudan Shifts Alliance From Egypt To Ethiopia Over Nile Dispute
By: Alden Young
Since 1959, Sudanese politicians have sided with Egypt when negotiating with other African countries about Nile water rights. Similarly, Sudanese politicians based in Khartoum have looked north and east to their Arab neighbors for political, cultural, military and financial support. How then do we explain the statements in June and July 2013 by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Irrigation and Agriculture Minister Abdul Halim al-Mutafi that Sudan supports the construction of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam over the objections of the country’s Egyptian allies? To understand the strengthening of Sudan’s alliance with Ethiopia and its increased distance from Egypt, it is necessary to look both at the events of the past few months and at the partition in 2011.
The recent protests and riots, which began in Wad Medani on Sept. 23 and have subsequently spread to cities throughout Sudan, calling for a continuation of government fuel subsidies and now the fall of the regime, are the direct result of the failure of the National Congress Party’s (NCP) political and economic strategy in the run-up to and in the wake of the partition of Sudan in July 2011.
While the riots are more severe than they have been in the past, contentious protests in the face of rising prices have occurred with increased frequency over the last few years. For instance, major demonstrations in Khartoum against rising prices erupted in June 2012. These protests have spawned several semi-permanent movements calling for Sudan to have its own “Arab Spring,” the most famous of which is the youth movement Girifna. Read more