Pulwama CopyCat Attack in Iran and the Very Complex Geopolitical Situation Developing for India

Last updated on Feb 15, 2019

Posted on Feb 15, 2019

There is a Sunni terror-group in Pakistan called Jaish ul-Adl (translated as Army of Justice).  It operates on the Iranian border with Pakistan.  It is supported and backed by Pakistan (and also funded by Saudi Arabia) and operates mainly in south-eastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan of Iran and has base in Pakistan. (Guardian / Reuters)

Apart from its fight against Iran, Jaish ul-Adl is also important for Indians because it was this organization that kidnapped Kulbhushan Yadav from Chahbahar and handed him over to the Pakistanis.

Jadhav was kidnapped by Mullah Omar Irani of Jaish-ul-Adl from Sarbaz city, around 52km from Chabahar. Irani then handed over Jadhav to the Pakistan Army.

This terror organization was earlier called Jundallah.  Iran had captured and executed its leader Abdolmalek Rigi in 2010.  But the organization changed its name to Jaish ul-Adl in 2012 and started again.

Jaish ul-Adl is a designated terrorist organization per Iran, India and Japan.

Now comes the shocking news – specifically for Indians – that on February 13, 2019 just a day before the Pulwama attack, Jaish ul-Adl did a copy-cat attack on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.  A truck laden with explosives targeted a bus carrying the guards.

The state-run IRNA news agency said the attack took place in Sistan and Baluchistan province, which has a large, mainly Sunni, ethnic Baluchi community which straddles the border with Pakistan.
The Revolutionary Guards said in a statement that a vehicle loaded with explosives had targeted a bus carrying affiliated border guards.
The Fars news agency said the attack was claimed by Jaish al-Adl, a jihadist group formed in 2012 as a successor to the Sunni extremist group Jundallah, which had waged a deadly insurgency against Iranian targets.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are elite and deadliest branch of the Iranian armed forces.  They were traveling on a 100-mile mountainous route from the city of Khash to the provincial capital of Zahedan.

27 Iranian guards have died and 20 are critically injured.

And, this happened on a day when US is co-hosting a conference in Warsaw where Iran and its situation will be discussed with respect to its role in Middle East.  In other words, Iran will be in a dock.

The U.S. is co-hosting the gathering called the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East. But the focus is expected to be on Iran and what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has referred to as countering its “malign influence.” (source)

So, on this day and 2 days before the Saudi Crown Prince MBS is to arrive in Pakistan, Pakistan has stuck a master blow to further make the Saudis indebted to Pakistan.  They know that Iran is being hauled up in Warsaw by US, and Saudis are anyway trying to hit at Iran.  This was the ideal time that they could have hit Iran to earn some extra brownie points with the Saudis.

Pakistan piggy-backing on Saudis-suck-up attack in Iran

What, however, Pakistan also did – along with trying to suck up to Saudis by hitting Iran – is to use this opportunity to hit India.  And, for Pakistan India is at the center of its whole situation.  If Narendra Modi remains as India’s PM in 2019 elections, it will be the end of Pakistan as we know it.

And, after having coopted the Congress leadership – first at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s home, and then via the visit by Navjot Singh Siddhu, and also direct meetings between Rahul Gandhi and the ISI representatives and chief (check the tweets below) – the Pakistanis have the right foil in India to start beating Modi up as soon as he is caught in the quagmire of geo-politics which goes beyond India and Pakistan.

The chess board is ready.  The players are baying for each other’s blood – literally.  And, for India’s future, one of them – Modi – cannot lose at any cost!

Implications and Ramifications of the Iran-Saudis-Pakistan-Israel-US Situation

First things first, why the hell didn’t the Indian intelligence realize that the attack on Indian forces could be via an explosive laden vehicle targeting a military bus/convoy, when a full ONE day prior to the Pulwama attack a copy-cat attack was done in Iran by a Pakistani backed terror group?

Who dropped the ball?  Specifically when it was clear that there were intelligence inputs saying that there will be an IED attack and likelihood of a blast was very high!

When such a huge convoy – unusually huge – was being sent over, and a similar attack had happened in Iran – done by Pak supported terror group, why wasn’t enough precautions taken?!

Ajit Doval needs to find out who dropped the ball and why really quickly!!

Now, look at the complete geo-political picture emerging that PM Modi has to contend with:

Saudis are targeting Iran to curtail and destroy itIsrael has created an ally in Trump and Republicans in targeting IranSerious discussions are going on in Europe to attack Iran in some waysPakistan is trying to suck up to Saudi Arabia and in the process extract maximum flesh (money) out of itSaudi Arabian leadership – read its Crown Prince MBS – is in the dock around the world (except with Donald Trump)India’s opposition and media has been coopted by Pakistan in the run up to the 2019 elections to hit at Modi, while the bureaucracy has been threatened not just by Abhishek Singhvi but also Kapil SibalBalochistan destabilization and coopting is not that easy with terror groups like Jaish ul-Adl operating from there (tribal areas) with the backing of Pakistan

From the Pakistani stand-point (keeping the Indian viewpoint aside for a moment to do a ruthless analysis), going ahead to replicate the attack in Iran, in India as well in this geopolitical atmosphere, was a brilliant move.

This is not all when it comes to the complications that Modi faces.

Internal situation – riot?

That there are enough forces which are creating internal strife is known.  What can make matters worse for India are two things – complications in Kumbh and a communal riot on a large scale.  For the latter, all the players – Congress, SP, BSP, TMC and Pakistan – have joined hands for attacking Modi.

US has already warned of such a thing in a rather ominous way.

“Parliamentary elections in India increase the possibility of communal violence if BJP stresses nationalist themes,” Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, told the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in a written statement. (Source)

Whether US has a hand or role in that is a moot point.  The relevant thing is that the “right villains” have joined hands to do what could help Pakistan next.

Act Swiftly, Secretly and Comprehensively

Despite the situation, there are unilateral actions – which can be devastating for Pakistan (indeed terminal) – that can be taken by India.  Who knows, maybe even a Kargil-like limited battle once again – as Gen GD Bakshi had argued in the show with Arnab on Republic yesterday.

India has three critical overt allies it needs to work with in this – Japan, EU and Russia.  There are others it needs to work with in the background – Iran and Qatar.

Primary targets should be economic.  Secondary targets should be terror groups and military camps as well as the government installations in Pok, Balochistan, Sindh and/or Punjab.

The exact same geo-political circumstances which Pakistan has calculated to hit India with, the ones with intertwining interests, hatreds, and battle-fronts will prevent any other major country from interfering in what India does in Pakistan.  Simply because everyone’s hands are full!

Provided of course, that Modi – and Doval – ensures that any way to create a communal riot (of the scale of Gujarat 2002) are prevented at this time.

The task and the challenges at hand are tough.  But such moments of decisive actions also present themselves to leaders rarely.  If Modi, along with Doval, is able to navigate through this situation, with victory on his hands – India’s bright future is assured.  If they falter, then many many challenges await India and Modi.

As always, I say, Mat Chuke Chauhan.

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