Why Egypt is Geopolitically Cursed

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

In recent times some have suggested that Egypt's future is bright. However, this will not be the case if Egypt doesn't find solutions for its major issues. Egypt is without a doubt strategically positioned. With control of the Suez Canal, access to both the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Nile River Delta, Egypt, is in a sense blessed. However, these facts don't negate the major weaknesses of Egypt's geography.

Located at the mouth of the Nile River, Cairo was, is and will continue to be influenced by the world's longest river. Ever since the beginning of civilisation in Egypt, the Nile has been the lifeline of settlers. Recent developments threaten Egypt's share of the Nile. The Nile is already in a process of drying up. With a population of over 100 million, Egypt needs to have enough freshwater to sustain farmlands. Failure to fix Egypt's water problem would lead to a major crisis.

To make matters exponentially worse the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam threatens to further cut Egypt's freshwater supply. Almost complete, It is already making Egypt nervous. Not only would it limit the amount of freshwater flowing in, but it would also likely reverse the flow as the remaining freshwater evaporates. So essentially this means that Egypt would suffer from saltwater flowing in. This would be catastrophic for Egyptian agriculture.

Egypt's political, agricultural and economic core sits at the mouth of the Nile River. There is also a thin strip of settlements and farms on either side of the Nile. This essentially means that a country of 102 million is squeezed into an area the size of a small European nation. This has more implications than mere quality of life consequences. All major cities lay in the Nile River Delta. Most of the economy is centred around it. Meaning that in the worst-case scenario where there is a threat of war, these areas would be open to naval attacks. Not only are these areas exposed but they are literally the absolute core of Egypt. If this zone is targeted it would bring the already weak Egyptian economy to its knees. For this reason, Egypt must rethink who its allies are. It cannot continue distancing itself from Turkey. Though Egypt's coast in the Red Sea is well protected, It lacks the same luxury in the Mediterranean. Egypt has to maintain good ties with the strongest navy in the East Mediterranean if it wishes to free itself from another burden.

All in all, Egypt has both distinct geopolitical advantages as well as potentially fatal flaws. It must find solutions to its problems or else they will continue to strangle the nation.

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