Al Jazeera English website said in a report that Pakistan and Iran agreed to calm down after the military strikes they exchanged this week, but the incident reveals a lack of trust between the two neighbors, and security concerns on the border that may continue to spoil their relations.
This agreement comes after Iran launched missile strikes last Tuesday in the Pakistani province of Balochistan, killing at least two children and wounding three, before Pakistan responded in less than 48 hours with “accurate” military strikes that killed 9 people on the site. The least, including 4 children and 3 women.
Tehran explained that the rare border breach targeted Jaish al-Adl, an armed group accused of launching attacks inside the Iranian territory of Sistan and Baluchestan. It also made clear that those killed in the Pakistani attack were “non-Iranians,” which means they may be Pakistani citizens.
Risk of escalation
The report stated that the rare military actions between the two countries threatened to escalate into a broader conflict in a tense region. Because of Israel's war on Gaza stripEven interim Pakistani Prime Minister Anwar Haq Kakar cut short his visit to Davos, Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum, and returned to his country.
While the United Nations and world powers urged restraint between the two Muslim-majority countries, and their close ally China offered to mediate, Islamabad and Tehran softened the tone of their rhetoric. The Iranian Foreign Ministry even described the government of Pakistan as a “friend and brother.” The Pakistani Foreign Ministry also said that Islamabad “respects The full sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The report quoted Joshua White, professor of international affairs and non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution in the United States, as telling Al Jazeera that Iran and Pakistan have sufficient reasons to stop the escalation after the “extraordinary strikes.”
White added, “The truth is that both governments talk about brotherhood when it suits them, but each is often suspicious of the other's motives. This is a low-trust relationship, but neither Islamabad nor Tehran stands to gain much from escalating tensions.”
Ali Fayez, director of the Iran Project at the International Crisis Group, said the Iranian move against Pakistan threatens to open a new front against a nuclear-armed neighbor. “The strike was reckless against a nuclear state whose cooperation Iran depends on to rein in Baloch armed groups – a deadly message sent to the address. Wrong – because most of the setbacks that Iran suffered came at the hands of “Israel, the United States, and the so-called ISIS.”
Syed Rifaat Hussain, an expert on security issues based in Islamabad, told the website that dialogue between the two countries is necessary to restore confidence, explaining that the unwarranted Iranian strike remains a mystery to him.
Faiz agreed that Iran had “exaggerated” its apparent need to demonstrate its power. “Iran may have overestimated its power,” he said. “They thought Pakistan would absorb the strike and show restraint, or at most, verbal protest.”
Fayez added that Pakistan “had no choice but to respond in kind, to draw a red line on unilateral Iranian strikes on its sovereign territory,” and wondered whether Iran’s decision to strike was based on “internal pressure to flex its military muscles, to deter further targeted killings.” to senior army commanders, and launched strikes against its allies in the region.”
White suggested that the Pakistani-Iranian tensions would not significantly affect US policy towards the two countries, given that it is a local conflict, while Fayez concluded that what happened was a reminder of the growing dangers of miscalculation in the fog of the Gaza war, which could spread and lead to a further escalation of the conflict.