Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Water Wars: "What is going on between Egypt and Sudan?"

This could be big trouble for Suyash Dixit, he said cryptically.
Following up on last week's "‘Water war’ escalates between Egypt, Sudan".
From Al Jazeera:
Ongoing tensions in the Red Sea region came to the fore in late December, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Sudan as part of his Africa tour. During the visit, Erdogan and his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir, signed more than a dozen agreements to boost the economic partnership between the two nations.

Among these agreements was a deal to temporarily hand over the Red Sea island of Suakin to Turkey. Ankara and Khartoum said Turkish investors would rebuild the ruined, sparsely populated island to increase tourism and create a transit point for Muslim pilgrims crossing the Red Sea to reach the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia
The agreement over Suakin has triggered a heated debate in the region, as many saw Erdogan's move as an attempt to establish a third military base - after the ones in Qatarand Somalia - outside Turkey's borders.

Egyptian and Saudi media have harshly criticised the agreement, categorising Erdogan's move as yet another attempt by what they call the "Turkey-Iran-Qatar axis" to undermine the stability and security of the so-called "Sunni moderate alliance", which includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE.

In a joint press conference with his Sudanese counterpart in Khartoum, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu strongly denied the existence of such an "axis", but he was unable to ease the tensions and convince the Egyptian leadership that the agreement over Suakin does not pose a threat for Cairo.

But Erdogan's visit to Sudan was in no way the beginning of the dispute between Sudan and Egypt. Relations between Cairo and Khartoum have long been strained, with ongoing disagreements over issues such as the Hala'ib Triangle border dispute and the Renaissance Dam project in Ethiopia
Hala'ib Triangle border dispute
The Hala'ib Triangle is an area of land of just under 20,500 square kilometres on the Egyptian-Sudanese border, which both countries have claim over since Sudan gained independence from Britain in 1956. In the 1990s, Egypt deployed its military in the territory, but, in the following two decades, the dispute was somewhat frozen.

In 2016, it flared up again. That year, Cairo signed a controversial agreement with Riyadh to hand over two strategically important Red Sea islands - Tiran and Sanafir - to Saudi Arabia. The agreement, which redrew the maritime border between the two countries, also unilaterally recognised Egypt's sovereignty over the Hala'ib Triangle....MORE
And Mr. Dixit?
Readers may remember him from such hits as last November's "Real Estate: 'Indian man declares himself king of ungoverned land between Egypt and Sudan'" for which our three word introduction was:
Location, location, location.
From The New Arab:
Indian man declares himself king of ungoverned land between Egypt and Sudan
A man traveled nearly 200 miles to become king of a piece of ungoverned land between Egypt and Sudan and made his dad president of his new kingdom as a birthday present for him.

Suyash Dixit, an Indian national travelled from India to the land of Bir Tawil, an unclaimed area of land between the Egyptian-Sudanese border to claim it for himself and declare himself king of the new-found "Kingdom of Dixit".....MORE
There is, at minimum, one prior claimant. Via Opinio Juris:
The Man Who Would Be King, Daddy’s Little Princess, and their Territorial Claim 
Somehow related: this morning's "The Financial Times' Izabella Kaminska Examines Seasteading and Is Bemused".