Iran gets hit by cross-border terrorism

Complicated, the matter is

One more country has joined the queue. “We have heard,” said Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Iran’s president, “that certain officials in Pakistan cooperate with main agents of these terrorist attacks in the eastern part of the country.”

The Iranian government summoned the Pakistani charge d’affaires in Teheran and protested against the use of Pakistani territory to launch the terrorist attack against Iran. The co-ordinated double strike at a Shia-Sunni reconciliation meeting in Sistan-Baluchestan province killed several tribal leaders and a number of senior military officers of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Jundollah, a Pakistan-based Baloch-Sunni rebel group, claimed responsibility. Mr Ahmedinejad accused the Pakistani military establishment of supporting Jundollah. Ali Larijani, an influential Iranian leader and speaker of parliament, went further and called the attack “an outcome of US measures”.

Both Pakistan and the United States have denied responsibility for the attack. There is very little in the public domain about Jundallah. It does not help that there is another Pakistani Sunni outfit—possibly a joint venture of Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen—by the name and which has figured in attacks within Pakistan. Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett write that “many experienced observers of US intelligence activities in Central and South Asia believe that US intelligence agencies have their own ties to Jundallah.”

There are several explanations for the attack: first, it was an attack by the Balochi-Sunni extremists against the Persian-Shia state. Second, it was an attack on the Republican Guard by Iranians opposed to the Khamenei-Ahmedinejad faction. Third, the Pakistan Taliban (TTP) instigated it to destabilise Pakistan’s relations with Iran by precipitating a crisis. Fourth, it was carried out at the behest of the United States to keep Iran under pressure. Fifth, it could well have been instigated by Iran’s Middle Eastern Arab-Sunni rivals—with the Pakistani military establishment acting as the midwife. Many of these explanations overlap.

In any event, there will be new pressure on the Pakistani government to act against anti-Iranian groups in Pakistan. While there is likely to be less public outrage in Pakistan against Iranian accusations, a crackdown against anti-Iranian groups—to the extent that the Pakistani government launches one—will risk a sectarian backlash. The likes of the Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and other Sunni jihadi groups would target Pakistan’s Shia minority, not least in Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan. Unless Iran is satisfied with mere promises of action, Iranian angle will add to Pakistan’s domestic woes.

It also complicates the relationship between the United States and Iran. Teheran will find itself in a dilemma: to counter what some see as a US campaign to destabilise the Iranian regime or to co-operate with US forces to tackle the Sunni jihadi threat emanating from Pakistan.

5 thoughts on “Iran gets hit by cross-border terrorism”

  1. India shud call a meeting of Afghanistan, Iran, China, Pakistan and India to dscuss the situation in Pakistan. An attack on India seems very likely now unless our quota in this round was already served at the Kabul embassy.

    The entire effort at this point seems to be delegitimize the Pakistani state, wherein the puppet politicians take the blame, while strengthening the hand of the Pakistani army. The more crisis there is in the region, more powerful and important the Pakistani army becomes.

    This blast in Iran is likely to have been ordered by the US/Pakistani army themselves to heighten the tension, thereby any political solution is thwarted and its left to US and Pakistani generals to lord over things.

    Remember, like Pakistan, US Military at this point is working independent of its political leadership.

  2. There could be several factors. Surely, Saudi Arabia will be in on this..I think SA is the elephant in the room.SA might have told Pak establishment to look the other way and let US,Israel and Saudi Arabia prod Jundallah to give Iran something to chew on. By the looks of it Saudi Arabia might be keeping a tight leash on Jundallah..otherwise its hardly likely Pak will let them play with it. India should be jumping in on and grab some action on Pak side of Baluchistan and kick some serious ass. No good deed(Mumbai 26/11) must go unpunished! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Remember, like Pakistan, US Military at this point is working independent of its political leadership.

    Balaji, you have zero proof to back up such claims- the US military is known to be thoroughly professional and is under civilian control – did you for a minute confuse it with the Paki military ?

    Obama has been very soft on Iran – his reaction to the Iranian mullahs slaughtering their citizens openly after the elections in June, was muted to put it mildly.

    The US military is highly sensitive to what Iranian proxies in Iraq can and have done to them. What exactly do they gain against a hardliner like Ahmedinejad by killing Iranian RG’s ?? If anything this only gives Iran another excuse to satanize the US..

    I wouldnt be surprised if the Saudi’s were involved – they provide the money and their Paki footsoldiers carry out the deed…

  4. Nagarajan Sivakumar,

    true. I have no proof. But its common knowledge that the US military and the civilian leadership have divergent opinion on Afghanistan. The generals have been publicly rebuked for asking a surge. The gaining civilian opinion seems to be to bomb the hell out of Pashtun areas but stay away from counter insurgency operations.

    So if the generals wanted to demonstrate how that strategy will fail, they just had to let Obama know where militants will go once they start bombing in NWFP and FATA. That is, militants will just move south to Baluchistan. Demonstrating that Jundallah (which is alive and kicking) can host the foreign militants if and when TTP can no longer do, seems to be the objective.

  5. But its common knowledge that the US military and the civilian leadership have divergent opinion on Afghanistan. The generals have been publicly rebuked for asking a surge. The gaining civilian opinion seems to be to bomb the hell out of Pashtun areas but stay away from counter insurgency operations.

    Balaji,
    I guess the news does spread far… but for all the differences of opinion, the US military is thoroughly professional – they will follow the orders of the civilian Commander in Chief.

    Btw, McChrystal was doing what is called a CYA here ( Cover your a**) – he came out in public, because
    A. He does not trust Obama actually understands the severity of the situation
    B. He can claim later on when America retreats eventually from Afghanistan that his advice was not heeded. And that would be a fair point to make.

    BUT..he will listen to Obama on what to do – he has no other choice but to listen to the civilian Govt even if he disagrees with them.

    So if the generals wanted to demonstrate how that strategy will fail, they just had to let Obama know where militants will go once they start bombing in NWFP and FATA. That is, militants will just move south to Baluchistan. Demonstrating that Jundallah (which is alive and kicking) can host the foreign militants if and when TTP can no longer do, seems to be the objective.
    You left me dazed here….the Jundallah is a bit player here.. the TTP actually has more venom and wreck more havoc.. And you talk about bombing NWFP and FATA as though they were two tiny spots on the map..

    If the US wanted to bomb the NWFP and FATA to the Stone Age, they ALREADY would have done so.. Here’s a newsflash for you – the US is NOT China or Soviet Union – either of those two would have flattened Pakistan by now, if they found themselves in the same quagmire as the US is in right now.

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