Iran and Pakistan on verge of war: Tehran's expectations disprove

Politics Analytics 19 January 2024 13:30 (UTC +04:00)
Iran and Pakistan on verge of war: Tehran's expectations disprove
Elchin Alioghlu
Elchin Alioghlu
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 19. Pakistan launched missile attacks on seven Iranian targets and according to official accounts, a number of strikes were conducted against the homes of Baloch rebels living in Iran, but the Sepah complex was also reportedly targeted, Trend reports referring to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry.

"Pakistan conducted an anti-terrorist operation called 'Marg Bar Sarmachar' in the morning against terrorist bases in Iran's Sistan and Balochistan provinces. As part of the operation, terrorist hideouts located in Iran's Sistan and Balochistan provinces were hit. Intelligence reports indicate that several terrorists were killed in the operation codenamed 'Marg Bar Sarmachar," says the Pakistani side.

Concluding that "Iran is a brotherly country and the Pakistani people have great respect and love for the Iranian people," the irony is inherent in Pakistani diplomats.

Islamabad has shown Tehran that the game of launching missile strikes on neighboring areas can be played by two people.

The Pakistani prime minister cut short his visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos and returned urgently to Islamabad amid strained relations with Iran.

Iran has demanded an immediate explanation from Pakistan over missile strikes on a border village in Sistan and Balochistan provinces.

Meanwhile, China urged both countries to exercise restraint and said it was ready to assist the parties.

Islamabad's statements are understandable. Pakistan has effectively said to Iran:

"You are striking at the Jaysh al-Adl group hiding in Pakistan without coordinating with us and ignoring earlier agreements, while we are striking at the Balochistan Liberation Army hiding in Iranian territory."

Baloch separatists are a headache for both Tehran and Islamabad, so they must solve this problem together.

Official Tehran has decided to prove itself as a major player in this field through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (SEPAH). However, the result was not what SEPAH expected.

India was the first to react to the events. Although official New Delhi supported Iran, it could not hide the fact that it was overly concerned and alarmed.

What is really going on?

There is an extremist movement called the Balochistan Liberation Army, made up of members of the Marri and Bugti tribes, the largest Baloch tribes living in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The Jaysh al-Adl group, which has struck Iranian bases, is also part of the movement.

In addition to the Baluchis, SEPAH has also hit the city of Erbil in northern Iraq with ballistic missiles and attacked UAVs.

This time, however, Tehran made a very serious mistake: the Iranian leadership thought that the same option could be applied to Pakistan, as it saw no response after targeting and hitting U.S. and Kurdish military bases in Iraq.

However, the Pakistani military is neither American nor Kurdish.

Immediately after Iran's missile and UAV strikes, Pakistan's foreign ministry recalled its ambassador to Tehran, emphasizing that the country has the right to respond. And this evening, Pakistan launched precision strikes on targets inside Iran.

The tragicomedy is that Tehran, in this turn of events, is demanding a "detailed and specific explanation" for the missile strikes from Islamabad.

It's unlikely that Tehran will forget the missile strikes on Pakistani territory so quickly. He didn't expect an answer, yes, but that's another topic.

The fact is that for the first time since the Iraq-Iran war of 1980–1988, Iranian territory was officially subjected to missile and bomb strikes. Not to mention that kamikaze UAVs have shot down military installations and bases in Iran before, but no one claimed responsibility for any of these attacks. Israel preferred to strike Iranian forces and bases in Syria, while the US preferred to strike Iranian groups in Iraq. Even after SEPAH hit the Iraqi city of Erbil with a missile, Washington did not respond to Tehran.

It was as a result of these events that Iranian power circles developed the misconception that surrounding states and even superpowers avoided or even feared Tehran.

Pakistan has shattered this vision.

In terms of military equipment, capabilities, mobilization power, level of combat training, professionalism, and many other factors, Pakistan's Armed Forces are significantly stronger than the Iranian army.

Tehran is not going to engage in a full-scale military conflict with Islamabad because Iran has always favored action in the region through proxy forces rather than directly.

When the Israeli army launched retaliatory military action in the Gaza Strip after the Hamas group in Gaza attacked Israel on October 7 last year and carried out sinister massacres, Iran refused to allow Hezbollah, its proxy force in Lebanon, to participate in the war. Rather, Tehran, content with making statements in support of the Palestinians, simply ordered Hezbollah to carry out minor provocations on the Lebanon-Israel border.

However, Iran has had serious security problems at home. And this suggests that the policy pursued by official Tehran on the national security plane is flawed. Betting on proxy forces from Syria to Yemen has so far been a tactic of Tehran's political establishment to repel terrorist threats far from the country's borders.

But this tactic no longer works. On the contrary, the more adversaries Iran's proxy forces face, the more Tehran's enemies seek revenge.

Tehran also seeks revenge by striking at those who retaliate against it.

It's a simple, primitive, but quite dangerous vicious cycle.

The conflict between Iran and Pakistan is also another major blow to the pillars of the global security system.

We live in perilous times; the world is no longer fearing wars. On the contrary, the power circles of countries controlled by irresponsible regimes see military action as the solution to serious problems that have accumulated. But strikes, fighting, and violence are by no means an effective solution.

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