Mystery of Zahedan – II

Continued from here.

Iran has a significant number of baloch people residing in the Sista-Balochistan province. The Baloch nationalist movement should hurt Iran as it hurts Pakistan. In this light, Iran’s complicity in Baloch insurgency is quite perplexing.

Balochistan is by no means a “Kashmir” for Pakistan. It’s much more than that, simply because there are so many forces pulling the ropes. It’s not an internal issue, nor a bilateral issue; it’s a mess, a hotch potch.

It’s believed that the Balochistan insurgency started with KGB operations viz. Afghanistan. The Russians wanted to give tit-for-tat treatment to Pakistanis for the latter’s involvement in Afghanistan. The operations however ended with USSR’s downfall (although the infrastructure was in place).

What followed later is interesting. Check this and this; spicy stuff!

Without further digression, what’s in it for Iran?

Economic theory:

Iran has incurred great expenses to develop Chah Bahar, the port that is supposed to be the Iranian answer to Pakistani ports of Gawadar and Pasni. Iran has also done lot of work to create excellent road link between Herat and Chah Bahar. All this would go to waste if Pakistani route comes on line because it is shorter and offers quick commuting possibilities between Central Asia and Indian Ocean. Source

Military theory:

But what does Shia Iran gain by destabilizing Baluchistan. After all the Balouch are overwhelmingly Sunni. The reason is Iran’s fear of Pakistani complicity in the impending American action against their country. Iran fears that Pakistan is about to reenact its role vis-a- vis the Taliban immediately after 9/11 and before the US action against the Taliban began

For any movement of American group troops into eastern Iran, Pakistan’s support would be essential (this is similar to the US request to Turkey for allowing US marines to move into Iraq from its northern border with Turkey.) Source

All of this is quite ironic given the fact that Pakistan had crushed the first Baloch insurgency in 1973 using helicopter gunships flown by Iranian pilots. But then in this complex geopolitical setup, anything’s possible!

[tags]Balochistan, Iran, Zahedan, Pakistan, India[/tags]