Egyptian professor of political science Moataz Bellah Abdel-Fattah responded to Ethiopia's plans for a second filling of the Renaissance Dam, by saying that in his "humble reading of the situation" Egypt's next step will be a military attack. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) on July 7, 2021. Abdel-Fattah continued to say that Egypt's social, political, economic affairs will never be stable if the Nile is held hostage by a party that is hostile to Egypt, like Ethiopia. He continued to say that if Egypt starts a war, the whole world might stand against it, therefore Egypt does not want to do so, but will go to war, if it is forced upon it. Abdel-Fattah said that if the dam constitutes a barrier between Egypt and its water security, its fate would be like that of the Bar Lev Line that served as a "barrier between Egypt and the liberation of the Sinai," referring to the Egyptian war against Israel in 1973. He further added that Ethiopia placed the dam near Sudan as an "aquatic bomb," and that if "something happened to this dam" the entire country could be destroyed. Abdel-Fattah said that Egypt's water security is one of its most important sources of stability and that if it does nothing in the face of Ethiopia continuing to fill the GERD, the Egyptian government would lose its legitimacy.
Interviewer: "Do you think that the next step will be a military one, or what?
Moataz Bellah Abdel-Fattah: "For sure. There is no question about it."
Interviewer: "Are you sure that Egypt will carry out a military attack against the Renaissance Dam?"
Abdel-Fattah: "This is my humble reading of the situation and not an official position. However, Egypt's social, political, and economic affairs will never stabilize if the Nile is held hostage by any other party, especially if that party is hostile towards Egypt, as in the case of Ethiopia.
"Going to war is a tough decision that requires careful consideration. As I have just said, we must do the right thing in the right manner, because if we start a war, the whole world might turn against us. Therefore, we do not wish to go to war, but if it is forced upon us, we will do it. If the Renaissance Dam constitutes a barrier between Egypt and its water security, in the same way that the Bar Lev line constituted a barrier between Egypt and the liberation of Sinai, then its fate will be similar.
"Sudan is facing imminent danger, whether Egypt acts militarily or not. We are talking about a dam that Ethiopia deliberately chose to place near Sudan, so it can constitute an 'aquatic bomb,' capable of destroying the Sudanese. Some estimates suggest that even without an Egyptian intervention, if something happened to this dam, the waves would reach 25 meters. Either way, Sudan is destined to be wiped out. Therefore, when we decided to negotiate and asked that studies be conducted, we talked about how to secure the dam, to protect Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. However, we are facing juvenile and reckless behavior by [the Ethiopian] leaders. These are my own words. I am not in any official capacity. Unfortunately, these [leaders] do not comprehend [the situation]. Their prime minister says that he is preparing a one-million-strong army... I have not heard such language since the days of Saddam Hussein, and we all know how Saddam ended up.
"One of the most important sources of the stability of the Egyptian state, and the stability of the successive Egyptian administrations, is Egypt's ability to maintain its water security. If we lost this, I believe that we would be facing a very difficult situation — both for the current regime and for Egypt as a state."
Interviewer: "I understand from your words that if Ethiopia continues to behave the same way and goes ahead with the second filling, the third filling, and so on, and the [Egyptian] regime does nothing, then it would lose its legitimacy?"
Abdel-Fattah: "It would certainly lose its legitimacy, because this is its raison d'être."