By Shazia Anwer Cheema
The news of Iran’s strike on Pakistan bears multifaceted layers of unexplained queries. The surface level only explains that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard attacked an Irani-Baloch of Suni origin residing on both sides of the Pak-Iran border in Pakistani Baluchistan and Iran’s Sistani Baluchistan. Besides that, all is hidden under the mist of the unknown for a layman and offers an information vacuum to be filled by unsubstantiated information.
The foremost question is why Iran did not coordinate with Pakistan as Pakistan is equally affected by these hyper-nationalist outfits, also Pakistan registered its reservation and apprehension to Iran time and again that some members of the same outfit residing and traveling to and from Sistan Baluchistan to the Pakistani side of Baluchistan. The attack by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was an unprovoked attack on the sovereignty of the borders of Pakistan.
The question remains, why did Iran act the way it did, and why did it break the news and then take it down from its state news agency? It all happened at a juncture of time when both countries were having high-level meetings. A military strike from an unfriendly neighbor makes sense but from Iran, it was not only unexpected but also seems like an error of judgment that demands swift reprimand and a reminder to Iran that Pakistan is neither Syria nor Iraq. Pakistan gave a befitting answer by launching the targeted attack on the hideouts of Baloch terrorists in Iran.
Pakistan has since long raised the issue with Iran that terrorists cross the Iran-Pakistan border and the Baloch terrorists of BLF and BLA living in Irani Balochistan have attacked the Pakistani security forces and targeted civilians indiscriminately. As mentioned already, Pakistan raised this issue with Iran several times but Iran in its response did nothing against such terrorists and their hideouts and continued to ignore this important issue. Many of the main leaders of these Baloch terrorist organizations were living comfortably with their families in Iran and now Pakistan was receiving very reliable information that these Baloch terrorists were planning major terrorist activities in Pakistan.
The Iranian attack on Pakistan could have been avoided and Pakistani forces just like in the past would have been willing to provide any assistance required to curb the common enemy instead Iran decided to act alone putting Pakistan in a tough position of retaliation and Pakistan retaliated.
There is no second opinion that Iran is getting overconfident and in doing so stepping out of its primary manifesto of fighting US hegemony. In recent months it was Iran’s third surgical strike, first in Syria then in Iraq, and now in Pakistan. Putting Pakistan in the Syria-Iraq frame was a strategic blunder of Iran which can even backlash the Iranian forged axis of resistance.
In the aftermath of the destruction of Iraq by the United States, the Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard under the command of Qasem Soleimani built a network of non-state actors. The axis was bound together by a shared hatred for the USA comprised initially of the Iran Revolutionary Guard, and Hezbollah of Lebanon later joined by Hamas and Shia militants of Syria and Iraq. It was a flexible group where each constituent part was self-sufficient and autonomous in decision making connecting them by the string of a shared enemy— USA. Yaman’s Houthis joined the axis of resistance much later though but now are an integral part of it. Iran being the mastermind and the binding force is in the center state of the axis of resistance and voluntarily provides aid to other non-state actors like ammunition, tactical support, and safe sanctuaries. Before Sep 7th Hamas attack on Israel, all the fractions of the Axis of Resistance were commonly known as terrorist outfits but aftermath of Israel’s failed war strategies they emerged as saviors of the oppressed Muslims and symbols of resistance to Western colonization. Axis of Resistance is fighting on multiple fronts at the same time, they have highly trained media management operatives, along with access to war machinery and combat training. The current psychological, economic, and tactical rout of Israel is an epitome of the Axis of Resistance’s long unwavering desire to fight and push back the US’s hegemony. The Axis of Resistance is now commanded by Esmail Qani, successor of General Sulemani. The objectives of the Axis are slowly being materialized by Shia Militia in Syria and Iraq as they are continuously dragging the US out of their vicinity, Hezbollah is securing Lebanon from Israeli intrusion, Hamas is fighting exceptionally against the topnotch tactical support of USA and the reservist Israeli Army, Houthis are denouncing that economic choking of West is possible, in a nutshell everything is turning green for Iran. International media has practically stopped bluntly portraying the Axis as a terrorist, all the constituent elements of the Axis are fighting for their cause and pushing the USA deeper into its own domestic chaos and diplomatic isolation. Amidst that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards attack on Pakistani soil does not make sense, Iran needs allies and newly found India and Armenia cannot, logically be the allies of the Axis of Resistance which is based on shared religious belief and shared hatred toward the USA and driven by the common sufferings inflicted by USA. I don’t expect from the foresightedness of Iran that Iran needs to remember that, material gains such as Chabahar’s construction by India a separate short-term material issue but the path Iran has chosen is more of the expansionist and hegemonic Muslim power which can never suit India on the ideational level. India does not share Iranian hatred for the USA, but on the other hand, Pakistani masses are so innately anti-American that Pakistan’s domestic politics revolves around those who hate the US the most.
Iran must rectify its error of judgment and must not force its friendly neighbor to continue “Operation Marg Bar Sarmachar”, one plausible solution could be to combine the forces against the common enemy. Moreover, Iran must not jeopardize its Axis of Resistance by hasty, miscalculated moves such as attacking Pakistan and must focus on its bigger game plan.
Shazia Anwer Cheema is an author, and analyst and writes articles for national and international media outlets. She did her M.Phil in Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus University Denmark and is completing her Ph.D. in Semiotics and Philosophy of Communication at Charles University Prague.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News