The deputy security and law enforcement officer of the Governor of Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Alireza Marhamati, claimed on Thursday that the Pakistan army fired three UAVs in its cross-border attack on the Iranian city of Saravan, IRNA reported.
He added, “In these attacks, four residential houses were destroyed, and around 10 women and children were killed.”
According to IRNA, Marhamati said that the casualties were Pakistani nationals and that an investigation is underway to determine how they had come to reside on the Iranian side of the border.
Tehran had already said all killed in Pakistan attacks were not Iranians.
“The motive behind this attack is under examination, and the results will be announced shortly,” he emphasized.
Iran & Pakistan: The Axis Of Terror: Analysis
Earlier, Iran attacked the camps of Pakistani terrorist groups called Jaish-al Adl, literally meaning the ‘legions of justice,’ with a base inside Pakistan territory. The Jaish-al Adl is a Sunni terrorist group that Iran claims has the agenda of creating an independent state of Balochistan. Iranian sources believe this terrorist organization is active in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.
⚡️| 🇮🇷 Iran published drone footage of the Jaish ul-Adl terrorist headquarters in Pakistan, which it targeted. pic.twitter.com/qYI2Tz1jGp
— Arya – آریا 🇮🇷 (@AryJeay) January 18, 2024
Some years back, Iranian troops attacked the hideout of a Pakistani Sunni militant organization called Jund-ullah (meaning Allah’s Group), asserting that it was a radical Sunni Baluch terrorist group sponsored by the Pakistani deep state to cleanse Baluchistan of Shia traces.
Earlier in the Israel-Hamas war, Iran had launched missile attacks on Sunni military sites in Iraq and Syria. The regime of Ayatollahs accuses Sunni militants and ISIS protagonists of engineering attacks on the Shia as a communal vendetta.
On January 1, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowded commemorative function in Kerman, the south-eastern city of Iran, which claimed about 88 lives and left 240 wounded, most of them critically.
The crowd had assembled to commemorate the fourth death anniversary of the chief of Quds Force, Qasim Suleimani, who was killed by the CIA in a guided missile attack in Iraq. Al Quds is one of the several state-sponsored terrorist outfits tasked to push the Islamic revolution of Iran. It is to be noted that the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic revolution, said that “the sword was the gift of Allah to the Muslims.” Perhaps Iran likes to translate it into practice.
So far, Iran has not said who was behind the Kerman massacre. However, Iranian authorities and security forces both raise a finger of doubt towards the Sunni extremist groups in neighboring Islamic countries, which could be Iraq, Syria, Yemen (dissidents), Saudi, Turkey, or Pakistan, running an anti-Shia agenda covertly or overtly.
Hence, in the calculus of Iran, attacks on Iran and Iranian interests are the handiwork of extremist Sunni elements here and there. The enemy-carving instinct is the trait of the Iranian character.
Shia-Sunni conflict is as old as Islam, with its origin traceable in the history of Kerbala. But with the passage of time and changing socio-political order in the process, other factors, mostly political, have also appeared to contribute to the Sunni-Shia conflict.
The Saudi-Iran tie-up engineered by Beijing last year is nothing more than a whitewash that served Beijing’s purpose.
A general observation is that some Islamic countries have been upstaging the creation and perpetuation of militant cum terrorist groups on their soil with specific political agenda in specific foreign countries. Iran, Pakistan, Syria, and, to some extent, Turkey are the Islamic countries that have overtly or covertly raised, nurtured, supported, and even financed some of the well-known terrorist organizations on their home soil.
This line of thinking has given a boost to the creation of proxies abroad and so-called ‘non-state actors’ at home. The purpose is to escape culpability in the eyes of international law. The entire narrative is shrouded in relentless denial, which, in Islamic jurisprudence, gets legitimized under the Takiyya clause.
Take the example of Pakistan. This country is reported to have more than twenty home-bred militant organizations, among which a few like Lashkar-e Tayyaba, Jaish-e Muhammad, Hizbul Mujahideen, Ghazwa-e Hind, Lashkar-e Jhangvi, etc., are very active in Kashmir, Afghanistan and other conflict spots in the Islamic world.
These terrorist organizations, technically categorized as ‘non-state activists,’ are strongly patronized by the Pakistan deep state, which, however, pretends not to have to do anything with them and calls them voluntary social organizations.
The reality is what Pakistani military leadership has often said that these outfits are the frontline defense force of Pakistan. Pakistan has exploited them maximally in its wars with India over Kashmir.
It is they who Pakistan’s General Musharraf said were the force that initiated the Kargil war in 1998-99. But after the exit of Musharraf, Pakistani sources vied with one another to claim that those who captured the Kargil Heights were Pakistani regulars disguised as non-state actors, meaning terrorist groups.
Exporting Islamic Revolution
This militancy-oriented culture is to be seen in all areas of conflict in the Muslim world, including Iran. Late Ayatollah Khomeini had said that the Islamic revolution of Iran had to be carried throughout the world not only through ideological persuasions but also through muscle power because “Allah had gifted the sword to the Momins.”
Thus, various militant groups emerged, choosing a nomenclature that was reminiscent of Islamic commanders and their conquests in the early days of Islamic upsurge in and outside Arabistan. The nomenclature was chosen only to give religious historicity to Islamic military prowess.
Iran fired missiles to destroy Pakistan-based Jaish al Adl terrorist camps close to the Pakistan side of Pakistan–Baluchistan border. But Iran has generally remained content with a mild criticism of Pakistani Sunni militant forces committing heinous crimes of murder, loot, arson, and hostage-taking against the Shia community in Pakistan.
Not only that, the Pakistani militant organization called Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has publicly announced its one-point agenda of decimating the Shia in Pakistan. But Iran never asked Pakistan to impose a ban on this particular militant outfit because Iran had the natural right to speak for the safety and protection of the Shia community.
Despite this glaring anti-Iranian attitude of the Pakistani deep state, Iran continued to support Pakistan’s numerous resolutions on Kashmir in the formal meetings of OIC. Iran never raised the issue of atrocities against the Pakistani Shias or Ahmadis in the OIC meetings but was active in castigating India about Kashmir, which is a no issue at the end of the day.
Iran has been at loggerheads with the US ever since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. But Iran has never raised the issue of how the US is receiving the support of Pakistan in fighting its two-decades-long war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Is it not a matter of priority with the OIC? Why are the OIC members loath to raise this issue in its meetings, and against that, they run after India, a country that takes care of the second largest population of Muslims in the world through a democratic secularist dispensation? This shows how much animus Iran and Pakistan nurse against democracy and universalism.
Iran’s real woe is that it has volunteered to win the anger and animosity of Israel and the US for no other reason than to tell the Muslims of the Arab world that after mass proselytization following the battles of Qadisiyyah and Nehavand (CE 632 and 642 CE), Iranian proselytize nation is more Islamic than those living in the lands of original Islam.
This is an ego, the reflections of which we find reverberating in all Islamic nations of Aryan and non-Semitic ethnicity in general but Iran in particular.
Iran, after estrangement from the US and bearing the brunt of the US’ stupid decision to impose sanctions on her for her nuclear program, has fallen in the lap of China and Russia.
Tehran has immensely improved her war machine by purchasing sophisticated weapons and manufacturing them at home. With stockpiles of powerful missiles — the gift of North Korea—, rockets, drones, and other lethal weaponry, and additionally with political backup from China and Russia, Iran has adopted aggressive postures and whipped up passions in its proxies in the Middle East.
The Houthi proxy has now begun to threaten the sea routes of trade and commerce, especially in the Red Sea. Has Iran the capability of opening fronts against the US, Israel, the Sunni world, and internal opposition at the same time and expect her religious legions to overpower all these enemies?
How far this aggressive posture can go, one cannot predict. The simple question raised in dispassionate political circles all over the world is this: Is Iran playing with fire? The dire consequences of playing recklessly with fire are too obvious.
- KN Pandita (Padma Shri) is the former director of the Center of Central Asian Studies at Kashmir University. Views Personal.
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