Tajik experts comment on attack that took lives of 15 senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard members

Tajik experts have commented on the Oct. 18 terrorist attack in Sistan-Baluchistan, Iran, close to the border with neighbouring Pakistan, which killed 15 senior members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Anna Malikova

2009-10-22

DUSHANBE — Tajik experts have commented on the Oct. 18 terrorist attack in the Iranian provinces of Sistan-Baluchistan, close to the border with neighbouring Pakistan, that killed 15 senior IRGC members.

Tajik political analyst Rashid Abdullo, a well-known expert in Central Asia, said the event reveals “that there is a problem with Baluchistan and the Baluchis, just as there is a problem with Kurdistan and the Kurds. Both the Baluchis and the Kurds are divided nations, dreaming of their own states, [which] is nothing more than a dream,” he asserted.

“The fact that a suicide bombing which killed IRGC members even occurred raises a number of questions,” Abdullo added. “Were security measures necessary to protect the high-level delegation implemented effectively? If so, was the incident an oversight, mistake, negligence or deliberate sabotage on the part of those involved in ensuring security? Was what happened a local manifestation, or did the consequence of the chaos and uncertainty after last June’s presidential election have an adverse impact on the performance of certain Iranian security agencies?” Independent expert Hakim Samiyev, who has roughly two decades of experience working in law enforcement agencies, said that he believes the attack “was a blunder by those responsible for guarding senior Iranian IRGC officials.”

Samiyev’s view is shared by Parviz Mullojanov, another independent political analyst: “It could have been the work of Sunni Muslim organisations that have a strong underground presence in southeast Iran, particularly in Iranian Baluchistan. Many researchers are even calling the situation there a smouldering guerrilla war.”

Mullojanov thinks it unlikely that Western special forces had anything to do with the recent events in Iran. “Statements made by captured militants who may have made that claim count for nothing in such cases, because when they are being tortured they can accuse anyone. The terrorists could just as easily have been influenced by Al-Qaeda, which has always been strongly anti-Iranian and anti-Shi’ite, or the Saudi Arabian special forces that also support anti-Shi’ite organisations all over the world,” the expert believes.

The Iranians may know more than they are letting on, he continued, but it is now more expedient for them to blame the West and pro-Western countries. “In any case, one thing is clear: the current Iranian regime is certainly using the attack to strengthen its own position in the country, and perhaps also as an excuse to turn up the heat on opposition movements. As for Tajikistan and other CIS countries, they have adopted a restrained stance for an entirely understandable reason. They want to maintain good relations with Iran, regardless of who runs it,” the analyst underlined.

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