The new constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt, approved in January 2014, states, in four articles, the rights and duties of the state and of the citizens about the Suez Canal, the environment and natural resources, and the Nile.
These articles have a political and strategic meaning in the current domestic security situation, dominated by rising tensions between the military, the Muslim Brotherhood, and a catastrophic economic situation, heightened by the environmental and international context of Egypt and of the Nile riparian countries.
To understand the political and strategic situation of Egypt, today and during the twenty years to come we must consider the context of its current national sustainability crisis (Valantin, Egypt, climate change and the long resource civil warfare, 2014) and of the emergence of new African actors.
Security, sustainability and legitimacy
The new Egyptian constitution clearly links the articles about the Suez Canal and the Nile River, both having to be “protected by the State”. The same principles are applied to the environment and the natural resources, to the point, in the article 46, that:
“The state is committed to taking the necessary measures to preserve it [the environment], avoid harming it, rationally use its natural resources to ensure that sustainable development is achieved, and guarantee the rights of future generations thereto.”
This reveals the state of mind of the Egyptian political and military authorities, which understand that their country has entered a new era. In this era, the legitimacy of the state, and thus the consensus or the resistance it inspires, is defined, following Weber, by the way it protects the basic conditions upon which rests the social and biological life of the population from new global environmental, economic and political risks (Max Weber, The three types of legitimate rule, 1958; James Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency, 2005).
Those basic conditions are food, especially bread, water, and energy (Valantin, ibid). These requirements are turning into a strategic challenge for Egypt, because, paradoxically, of the dawning economic development and demographic explosion of the other Nilotic countries.
For the complete article, please see The Red Analysis.