Featured Article: The First 21st Century Water War
The First 21st Century Water War
by J. M. Landreth
Dr. Ismail Serageldin, founding director of Bibliotheca Alexandria, forecasted in 1995 that wars in the 21st century would be fought over water rather than oil. While an increasing number of countries are experiencing fresh water shortages, Serageldin’s prophesy may first come true in his native country, Egypt.
Egypt’s history and modern-day economy inextricably link to a healthy Nile River. However, large dam construction in upstream Ethiopia may soon jeopardize the strength of the Nile in Egypt. The case of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) provides a window into the future and is instructive for the international community on the evolving nature of water insecurity. If the U.S. wishes to aid in the peaceful resolution of the GERD issue, then the U.S. must martial a truly interagency approach since the Nile bridges many of the geographic seams that divide U.S. military, intelligence, and diplomatic institutions. The U.S.’s approach towards the GERD must leverage the existing network of allies and regional partners, not conflict with existing or create new kinetic conflicts and harmonize with the U.S.’s strategy towards the Great Power Competition.
In each section of this article, I outline various concerns and potential areas of contention, providing recommendations to alleviate these problems. A complete listing of recommendations can be found at the end of this article…
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| About the Author:
Lieutenant Commander James Landreth is a U.S. Navy submarine officer. He holds degrees from the U.S. Naval Academy (B.S.) and the University of South Carolina (M.Eng.), and completed Joint Professional Military Education at the U.S. Naval War College. Landreth publishes frequently on joint interagency matters and is a veteran of U.S. Central Command’s Plans, Policy and Strategy Directorate.