Keywords: Egypt, hydropolitics, narratives, water wars, water peace, hegemony, regimes, water resources, conflict, regime formation, international cooperation
Three lenses on water war, peace and hegemonic struggle on the Nile
The present contribution will argue that 'water wars' and 'water peace' are not objective 'facts' but narratives reflecting competing world views. The two narratives are lenses shedding different lights on the same phenomenon. In addition to the narratives underlying the waterpeace debate a third narrative can be adduced, that has a different, critical perspective on water wars, that has a very different interpretation of water conflict, looking at how local forces express global hegemonic struggles. Each of these has a different and credible account on why there has been no violence between states, and the role of hegemons and regimes in this. This paper pays special attention to regime formation. While the neorealist and liberalinstitutionalist schools have seen a gradual approximation since the 1980s (the neoneoconsensus) they have different views of international regime cooperation and its drivers, notably the stabilising role of hegemons. The third, critical narrative again revives a different, underexposed strand in regimes analysis. Since 'regimes begin at home' (Waterbury, 2002), this paper also looks at the internal dynamics in Egypt.