This week, a new focus of tension emerged in the Middle East.
Iran and Pakistan, two neighboring weapons powers, have attacked specific targets on both sides of their border, raising international concerns about a wider conflict in the region.
These events occurred within a week, in which Iran conducts military operations in three different countries: Syria, Iraq and Pakistanand the context of conflict in different parts of the region.
Israel is at war with the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza and frequently exchanges fire with the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group.
Other Iranian-backed groups in Iraq and Syria have also attacked U.S. military targets.
On the other hand, the United States and Britain are leading an operation against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, also backed by Iran, who have been attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea.
BBC Mundo explains it to you in three key points Renewed tensions between Iran and Pakistan have added fuel to the volatile region.
1. Why tensions between Iran and Pakistan have increased
Fighting between Iran and Pakistan erupted last Tuesday when Iran attacks sites in Balochistan linked to militant groupslocated in western Pakistan.
According to Pakistani officials, two children were killed and three others were injured in the attack.
Iran insists it is not targeting Pakistani citizens but only Adel Armyis a Baloch Sunni group that has organized attacks against Iranian and Pakistani government forces in the past.
But the Pakistani government considers Iran’s air operations an “illegal and unprovoked violation of its airspace.” It warned it could lead to “Serious consequences”.
In addition, it withdrew its ambassador to Iran and temporarily vetoed the Iranian ambassador’s decision to return home.
This Thursday, In response, missiles were fired at “terrorist hideouts” in IranAt least nine people were killed in the border province of Sistan and Balochistan, Iranian state media reported.
Similar to the reasons given by Iran, Pakistan emphasized that the purpose of its attacks was to “pursue its own security and national interests” and “respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighboring countries.”
2. What is the relationship between Iran and Pakistan?
The Iranian attack occurred on the same day as the Pakistani Prime Minister and Iranian Foreign Minister met in Davos, and the Iranian and Pakistani militaries held joint military exercises in the Gulf.
Iran and Pakistan share 900 kilometers of common border The security of both sides is a long-term concern of the two governments.
In an interview with the BBC, Robert Macaire, the former British ambassador to Iran, described Balochistan, a province divided between the two countries, as a “lawless” area where drug smuggling gangs were responsible for thousands of murders.
Iran and Pakistan have accused each other of harboring militant militant groups for years and launching attacks against each other along their border.
In 2017, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said an Iranian drone was shot down over Pakistani territory, and in 2014, Iranian security forces crossed the border to hunt suspected extremist militants.
Analysts describe the relationship between the two countries as Sophisticated, yet approachable.
“Two countries attacking each other like this is never a good sign, especially for two influential powers like Iran and Pakistan, but despite the chaos, civilian casualties and fiery rhetoric, This doesn’t feel like a real crisis.”, analyzed BBC diplomatic correspondent Paul Adams.
After the operation, “both sides seemed eager to emphasize that these actions did not represent an attack on a neighboring country,” Adams added.
The BBC Urdu Channel stated that the historical relations between the two countries have gone through ups and downs.
Iran is the first country to recognize Pakistan Becoming an independent country in 1947, Tehran supported Pakistan in its war against India in 1965.
Michael Kugelman, director of the Wilson Center’s South Asia department, told BBC Mundo that “there are deep cultural and historical ties, as well as a deep legacy of commercial relationships.”
Kugelman added: “There is also a clear convergence of policy, from plans to build a joint gas pipeline (which never materialized) to Iran expressing support for Pakistan’s position in the Kashmir dispute with India.”
However, after the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, Pakistan approaches Saudi ArabiaIran’s adversary.
Kugelman analyzed that this represents “a geopolitical obstacle to the expansion of cooperation between Iran and Pakistan.”
“In the past few years, Iran has also been accused by Pakistani authorities of recruiting young people for sectarian groups,” the Urdu service wrote.
3. How tensions between Iran and Pakistan affect the Middle East crisis
Building on the legacy of good relations noted by Kugelman, analysts found that “even more alarming is Iran’s unilateral attack on Pakistan on an unprecedented scale.”
analysts say Pakistan’s reaction to Iran’s actions comes as no surprise They amount to the Iranian version of specific attacks targeting rebel groups.
“Pakistan’s response increases the risk of escalation, but also provides an opportunity to pull back from the abyss. In effect, the two sides are now tied,” Kugelman said.
Other commentators believe that Iran’s attacks in Syria, Iraq and Pakistan are motivated by the current unrest in the Middle East.
Tehran says it does not want to be drawn into larger conflict, despite calls for militant groups to “Axis of Resistance”They include Yemen’s Houthi rebels, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and various groups in Syria and Iraq, who have attacked Israel and its allies to express solidarity with the Palestinians.
Now is the time, says BBC Persian correspondent Jiyar Gol Iran is interested in showing strength.
“And to make it clear to the public that recent acts of violence, such as the suicide attack that killed 84 people during the commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, will not go unpunished.”
Likewise, in his analysis of Iran’s attacks on Iraq and Syria, Gore argued Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps It wants to demonstrate the ability of its missiles to reach territory where the United States, Israel and other foreign militaries have strategic bases.
Regarding Pakistan, “Iran certainly knew it had to respond. Both sides were living up to their honor and perhaps to the demands of public opinion,” Adams added.
However, British magazine defense editor Shashank Joshi economisttold the BBC that while “this is not the first time there have been border tensions (between Iran and Pakistan)”, it was “The most serious escalation of tensions in living memory to date”.
As a staunch ally of both countries, China urges both countries to exercise restraint and avoid further escalation of the situation.
Remember, you can receive notifications. Download our apps and activate them so you don’t miss out on our best content.