Shia Iran vs Sunni Pakistan: Rising Tensions

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18-01-2024

    There are several factors behind Iran's decision to launch an attack on Pakistan

    Prior to its actions in Pakistan, Iran had already engaged in military activities in Syria and Iraq

    Iran has placed Pakistan in the same category as Iraq and Syria

Pakistan, considered the most vulnerable among countries with nuclear capabilities, is led by politically and militarily feeble and hesitant leaders.

Recently, Iran carried out missile and drone strikes within Pakistani territory. These attacks, as claimed by some Iranians, targeted the Sunni militant group Jaish Al-Adl. The Balochistan region, historically divided between Iran and Pakistan, is the site of conflicts where the Baloch people are striving for autonomy or independence from both nations. The insurgent activities in the Balochistan area of Pakistan are notably more severe than those in Iran.

There are several factors behind Iran’s decision to launch an attack on Pakistan: 

  • Prior to its actions in Pakistan, Iran had already engaged in military activities in Syria and Iraq. The Middle East is currently experiencing heightened tensions, with two major conflicts underway: one between Israel and Hamas, and another involving America and Britain against the Iranian-supported Houthis. The Houthis have been disrupting maritime traffic in the Red Sea, prompting the formation of an international coalition against them in Yemen. Iran’s strategy to heighten tensions with the United States and Saudi Arabia includes attacking Pakistan, a country known for its close ties with Saudi Arabia and its ongoing relationship with the United States.
  • Iran has placed Pakistan in the same category as Iraq and Syria. Currently, the Talabani forces are launching attacks near the Pakistan border, and the Pakistani Taliban is causing significant turmoil within the country. Pakistan’s economy is struggling, and political instability is rampant, making this potentially the weakest period in its history. This vulnerability makes Pakistan an easier target, as its weaknesses are well-known. 
  • Pakistan, predominantly a Sunni country, has been facing criticism for its unequal treatment of the Shia community, who are often seen as second-class citizens. Iran, as the largest Shia-majority nation, aims to demonstrate to the world and its own people that it is willing to go to great lengths to protect Shias, even if it means attacking the only nuclear-armed Islamic nation.
  • Pakistan has been accused by three of its neighbouring countries – India, Afghanistan, and Iran – of harbouring and supporting terrorist activities within their borders, earning it a reputation as a hub for terrorism.
  • Should a conflict between Iran and Pakistan escalate, it could shift global attention away from the situations in Israel and Yemen. An Iran-Pakistan conflict could also strain the relationships between America-India and Saudi-India, particularly if India disapproves of American and Saudi support for Pakistan. The presence of India in the Indian Ocean region is crucial for stability, and is sought after by countries like America, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. America, in particular, is keen to avoid deepening conflicts in the Middle East. Iran’s strategy appears to be aimed at disrupting the anti-Iran alliance led by Israel and America while seeking to align with nations like India and Russia. This is underscored by the recent dialogue between the foreign ministers of India and Iran.

Pakistan has limited means to retaliate against Iran

– They can officially denounce the attack at a high level and either recall their ambassador or downgrade diplomatic relations. This step has already been taken by Pakistan in recalling its ambassador.

– Conduct operations against Baloch insurgents who are allegedly sheltered in Iran.

– Engage in military action by targeting Iranian military bases.

However, attacking Iranian military facilities could either lead to war or another active conflict along Pakistan’s western border, a situation Pakistan is unlikely to want. The most Pakistan might do is to launch a few missiles into the deserts of Iranian Balochistan to appease its domestic audience. But the most probable course of action is minimal beyond condemning Iran’s actions and reducing diplomatic ties. The United States and Saudi Arabia, recognizing Pakistan’s limitations, may not extend significant financial or military support to Pakistan in a conflict against Iran.

Over recent years, Pakistan has experienced airstrikes from American, Indian, and now Iranian forces, yet the Pakistani Air Force has been unable to detect and counter these strikes. This situation reflects on the preparedness of the Pakistani Armed Forces. Despite being the fifth largest army in the world on paper, in practical terms, they have struggled even to defend against the Taliban. While Pakistani soldiers may possess a strong sense of patriotism, their leadership has largely been ineffective. Pakistan has yet to achieve victory in any war throughout its history, yet its military generals continue to hold significant influence within the country.

(The author, Girish Linganna, is a Defence, Aerospace & Political Analyst based in Bengaluru. He is also Director of ADD Engineering Components, India, Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany. You can reach out to him at: [email protected])

Shia Iran vs Sunni Pakistan: Rising Tensions

https://newsfirstprime.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/WhatsApp-Image-2024-01-18-at-4.03.14-PM.jpeg

    There are several factors behind Iran's decision to launch an attack on Pakistan

    Prior to its actions in Pakistan, Iran had already engaged in military activities in Syria and Iraq

    Iran has placed Pakistan in the same category as Iraq and Syria

Pakistan, considered the most vulnerable among countries with nuclear capabilities, is led by politically and militarily feeble and hesitant leaders.

Recently, Iran carried out missile and drone strikes within Pakistani territory. These attacks, as claimed by some Iranians, targeted the Sunni militant group Jaish Al-Adl. The Balochistan region, historically divided between Iran and Pakistan, is the site of conflicts where the Baloch people are striving for autonomy or independence from both nations. The insurgent activities in the Balochistan area of Pakistan are notably more severe than those in Iran.

There are several factors behind Iran’s decision to launch an attack on Pakistan: 

  • Prior to its actions in Pakistan, Iran had already engaged in military activities in Syria and Iraq. The Middle East is currently experiencing heightened tensions, with two major conflicts underway: one between Israel and Hamas, and another involving America and Britain against the Iranian-supported Houthis. The Houthis have been disrupting maritime traffic in the Red Sea, prompting the formation of an international coalition against them in Yemen. Iran’s strategy to heighten tensions with the United States and Saudi Arabia includes attacking Pakistan, a country known for its close ties with Saudi Arabia and its ongoing relationship with the United States.
  • Iran has placed Pakistan in the same category as Iraq and Syria. Currently, the Talabani forces are launching attacks near the Pakistan border, and the Pakistani Taliban is causing significant turmoil within the country. Pakistan’s economy is struggling, and political instability is rampant, making this potentially the weakest period in its history. This vulnerability makes Pakistan an easier target, as its weaknesses are well-known. 
  • Pakistan, predominantly a Sunni country, has been facing criticism for its unequal treatment of the Shia community, who are often seen as second-class citizens. Iran, as the largest Shia-majority nation, aims to demonstrate to the world and its own people that it is willing to go to great lengths to protect Shias, even if it means attacking the only nuclear-armed Islamic nation.
  • Pakistan has been accused by three of its neighbouring countries – India, Afghanistan, and Iran – of harbouring and supporting terrorist activities within their borders, earning it a reputation as a hub for terrorism.
  • Should a conflict between Iran and Pakistan escalate, it could shift global attention away from the situations in Israel and Yemen. An Iran-Pakistan conflict could also strain the relationships between America-India and Saudi-India, particularly if India disapproves of American and Saudi support for Pakistan. The presence of India in the Indian Ocean region is crucial for stability, and is sought after by countries like America, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. America, in particular, is keen to avoid deepening conflicts in the Middle East. Iran’s strategy appears to be aimed at disrupting the anti-Iran alliance led by Israel and America while seeking to align with nations like India and Russia. This is underscored by the recent dialogue between the foreign ministers of India and Iran.

Pakistan has limited means to retaliate against Iran

– They can officially denounce the attack at a high level and either recall their ambassador or downgrade diplomatic relations. This step has already been taken by Pakistan in recalling its ambassador.

– Conduct operations against Baloch insurgents who are allegedly sheltered in Iran.

– Engage in military action by targeting Iranian military bases.

However, attacking Iranian military facilities could either lead to war or another active conflict along Pakistan’s western border, a situation Pakistan is unlikely to want. The most Pakistan might do is to launch a few missiles into the deserts of Iranian Balochistan to appease its domestic audience. But the most probable course of action is minimal beyond condemning Iran’s actions and reducing diplomatic ties. The United States and Saudi Arabia, recognizing Pakistan’s limitations, may not extend significant financial or military support to Pakistan in a conflict against Iran.

Over recent years, Pakistan has experienced airstrikes from American, Indian, and now Iranian forces, yet the Pakistani Air Force has been unable to detect and counter these strikes. This situation reflects on the preparedness of the Pakistani Armed Forces. Despite being the fifth largest army in the world on paper, in practical terms, they have struggled even to defend against the Taliban. While Pakistani soldiers may possess a strong sense of patriotism, their leadership has largely been ineffective. Pakistan has yet to achieve victory in any war throughout its history, yet its military generals continue to hold significant influence within the country.

(The author, Girish Linganna, is a Defence, Aerospace & Political Analyst based in Bengaluru. He is also Director of ADD Engineering Components, India, Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany. You can reach out to him at: [email protected])

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