January 28, 2008

Insurgency In Western Balochistan : Implications On East

Source: Bso-na.org
by Divya Kumar Soti

There are fresh reports of trouble from Iranian Balochistan . During last few months, intensity of clashes between Jondullah and Iranian forces has increased. It is notable that this fresh wave of voilence has started after release of New Intelligence Estimate in US which made White House short of reasons to take military action against Iran. But many camps of US political complex are still bent on doing everything for 'containing' Iran. Throughout the last winter, there were many high level interactions between Israeli and Saudi Governments on Iran issue.

Now in light of, situation in Pakistan and new Intelligence Estimates, military action does not look feasible. So, only option left with US is-covertly estabilizing Iran and keep it engaged in insurgencies and internal unrest. Iran’s neighbor, Azerbaizan which has lot of influence over Azeri population in Iran, has been engaged already. Many high level Bush administration officials are visiting Baku, since last two years. There are reports of some US Special Forces being stationed in Azerbaizan. As a result of all this, there are regular reports of widespread demonstrations by Azeris against the regime in Tehran. Although very little information comes out of Iran but there are confirmed reports of riots and ethnic clashes from Azeri areas. But Government in Baku has its own limitations. They can not pursue an agenda in Central Asia beyond an extent which does not have support of Moscow and Beijing. Moreover, it is still very hard to convert Azeri 'dissatisfaction' with Tehran into full blown insurgency.

That is where Iranian Balochistan comes into calculation. This region has long history of instability, is a passage of drug trafficking and is an underdeveloped region. It is a predominantly Sunni area and never had cordial relations with regimes in Tehran. So, all components of running an insurgency are present. Jondullah has in past few years has done very bold operations inside Iran. Tehran accuses that lot of its cadres were formerly part of militias supporting Taliban before 2001 and are involved in drug trafficking. These people like many Commanders switched sides after ’01 invasion of Afghanistan by US and are now part of plans to destabilize Iran.

This insurgency has a completely different character than from the one in Pakistani Balochistan or what is East Balochistan. Struggle in East Balochistan is 'secular in character' in contrast to radical colors of its counterpart in West, and is aimed at achieving a Secular Baloch Nation. Organizations like Jondullah have a ‘mercenary character’ and are used as tools in larger strategic designs. So Baloch leaders in East Balochistan should maintain a safe distance from such organizations and prevent themselves to be dragged into such strategic short-term games as co-operating with such organizations may alter the character of their struggle. It will expose the cadres to unwanted influences and will weaken the operational ability. Such influences deteriorates organizational C&C . Pak Intelligence Agencies may use this opportunity to implant moles into Baloch Nationalist organizations , therefore, they should keep themselves ‘quarantined’.

Iran has a lot of role in stability of Afghanistan and can help check Taliban in tribal areas and Afghanistan through its influence on Shias in tribal areas and Hazaras. Thus co-operation with organizations like Jondullah will only strengthen terrorists inimical to stability of Afghanistan and elements which are against Western and Indian interests. Thus Baloch Leaders should be discouraged from co-operating with such elements.

Author can be reached by email at writing2divya@gmail.com

All view expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the
views of, and should not be attributed to, IntelliBriefs .

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