mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Balancing Iran
Iran Warns Pakistan: Free Our Captured Guards or Else

Iran informed Pakistan it is considering sending troops across the border to free five guards kidnapped on February 8 by the Sunni militant group Jaish al-Adl. The militants captured the guards just over the border inside Iran before retreating into Pakistan. Last week, Saudi television station Al Arabiya broadcast a video that showed the guards in captivity and demanded the release of 300 Sunni prisoners in Iran and Syria in exchange for their return.

Since the kidnapping, Teheran’s requests that Pakistan find and return the guards have grown increasingly belligerent. The BBC reports:

On Monday, Mr Rahmani-Fazli was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency: “If Pakistan doesn’t take the needed steps to fight against the terrorist groups, we will send our forces into Pakistani soil. We will not wait for this country.”

It was Iran’s right to “intervene and create a new security sphere for our safety”, he added. […]

The deputy chief-of-staff of Iran’s armed forces meanwhile told the Fars news agency that “political and military measures are under way to set them free”.

Iran still hasn’t acted on any of its threats, but alarm bells are no doubt sounding in Islamabad. The two countries have had a rocky relationship as of late. Sending troops across the border would be a massive provocation.

The Gulf Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia, have been moving closer to Pakistan in recent months to build up a counterweight to the rise of Shia Iran. Iran’s increasing belligerence will only make Islamabad more receptive to deepening its already close relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Features Icon
show comments
  • TommyTwo

    Popcorn’s on me.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    This would be great, another front in the Sunni-Shiite conflict. As long as the Muslims are focused on killing each other, their resources will be reduced for killing others in particular Westerners. “Divide and Conquer” is a time honored and low cost strategy, and it is working well on our self declared enemies the Muslims.

  • gabrielsyme

    To be fair, Iran is completely in the right here. No nation can tolerate its neighbour harbouring groups that attack and abduct its citizens. If Pakistan is incapable of exerting its sovereignty in the border areas – i.e., controlling Jaish al-Adl, they have little basis to complain over an Iranian incursion aimed at recovering their abducted personnel.

    Iran probably can’t afford a distraction right now, so I suspect they are likely to be patient with Pakistan and this entire situation.

    • B-Sabre

      I would note that the US and Iraq did very little when the Turks crossed the border into Kurdistan to clean house after the PKK. Then again, Pakistan seems to have little inclination to do anything about the tame and feral dogs that live in their backyard, but take any suggestion that they, you know, do something as an insult to their nation honor and territorial integrity (who’s the only person convicted of anything in relation to Osama bin Laden hiding out in Pakistan? The doctor who was part of the CIA’s attempt to locate him.).
      Some people just need a demonstration of what constitutes acceptable behavior.

  • John Tyler

    Let’s hope Iran and Pakistan go to war ; both nations either sponsor or allow or actively engage in terrorism. If the world lucks out, each nation will destroy each other.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service