Research Activities

Research Projects

Water and Geopolitics in the Middle East and the Nile Basin: Local Actors, Middle East Powers and Superpowers (2020_2_40_007)


This research project addresses water resources from an international relations perspective, looking into the role of non-riparian states in influencing hydropower relations and policies of riparian states sharing transboundary waters. The research examines the rising influence of the Arab Gulf states and private investment from non-basin countries in the Nile River basin and their impact on conflict and cooperation over transboundary water relations between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The Gulf Arab states’ rising influence in the Nile basin stems from their recent surge in political, economic, and military engagement across the Red Sea region and around the Horn of Africa. The significance of this research lies in emphasizing the need for linking both the Middle East and the Horn of Africa regions—this has been overlooked by academics and policymakers, in examining changing hegemonic configurations and the control of water resources among riparian states in the Nile basin. The research explores the following: (1) the motives behind the current rivalries and competition in the Red Sea region, in particular, between Qatar, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, and the U.S., along with the impact of such rivalries on the domestic politics of the states of the African Red Sea coast; and (2) how the non-basin states and private investors have affected the shift in the hydro-political terrain of the Nile Basin, particularity focusing on relations between upstream and downstream states.


April 2020 - March 2022

Members of the Research Project
[ Organizer ] Darwisheh Housam
  • IDE Research Bulletin / Discussion Paper
  • Web