I bet no one of us had ‘retaliation air strikes between Iran and nuclear-armed Pakistan’ in their bingo cards for 2024.
I told a friend the other day about the tensions arising in the Balochistan, and he gave me a long, hard look while he decided if I was pulling his leg. Balochistan? Does that place even exist?
But yes, Balochistan is an actual region, and the military tensions between Islamabad and Tehran are an all-too-real – and disturbing – development in the Middle East tensions.
Pakistan launched airstrikes against alleged militant hideouts inside Iran today (18), killing at least nine people (non-Iranians), as it retaliated for a similar attack days earlier by Iran.
Associated Press reported:
“The unprecedented attacks by both Pakistan and Iran on either side of their border appeared to target Baluch militant groups with similar separatist goals. The countries accuse each other of providing a haven to the groups in their respective territories.
The flare-up between Iran and Pakistan comes as the Middle East remains unsettled by Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and on the heels of Iranian airstrikes late Monday in Iraq and Syria. Those airstrikes came in response to a suicide bombing in Iran by Islamic State militants in early January that killed over 90 people.”
The rising tension between Iran and nuclear-armed Pakistan is not new, since they’ve long regarded each other with suspicion over militant attacks.
The Iranian Ayatollahs faced pressure for military action ever since the Islamic State suicide bombing.
They are flexing their regional military power backing Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen — all groups engaged in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Pakistan had to save face after Tuesday’s airstrikes by Iran, since it faces a February general election, with its military as a powerful political force.
“’The government and military have been under immense pressure’, said Abdullah Khan, an analyst at the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies. ‘Iran celebrated (Tuesday’s) attack in its media and the Pakistani public perception of a strong army is not as it used to be, so it had to respond’.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry: the Thursday attack was ‘a series of highly coordinated and specifically targeted precision military strikes’.
The attack unfolded after ‘credible intelligence of impending large scale terrorist activities’ arose.
“Pakistan’s military described using drones, rockets, and ‘standoff weapons’, which are missiles fired from aircraft at a distance — likely meaning Pakistan’s fighter jets didn’t enter Iranian airspace.”
Pakistan’s PM Anwaarul-Haq-Kakar immediately returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, and flew home.
The attacks targeted the Baluch Liberation Army, an ethnic separatist group that has operated in the region since 2000, and the Baluchistan Liberation Front.
“Iran and Pakistan share a 900-kilometer (560-mile), largely lawless border in which smugglers and militants freely cross. The route is also key to global opium shipments coming out of Afghanistan. The Taliban separately urged restraint amid the tensions.”
Back in Washington, feeble Joe Biden weighed in on the conflict.
“What do you make of these attacks between Iran and Pakistan?”
BIDEN: “Iran is not particularly well liked … I don’t know where that goes” pic.twitter.com/FWFnRaYvKO
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 18, 2024