By Afshain Afzal
In the latest development, Iranian-backed elements launched ballistic missiles on Erbil, northern Iraq to target what Tehran claims, “This Mossad headquarters working for espionage operations and a center for terror attacks planning in the region, especially against our beloved country, Iran.” However, Washington has officially said, “US facilities were not targeted.” Tehran also claimed to have targeted Syria and Pakistan province of Balochistan. The US Department of State stated on 15 January 2024, giving an account of Iran’s attacks in Erbil Iraq. Reuters reported at 3 PM GMT+5 on 16 January 2024 that Iran's Revolutionary Guards said they attacked the spy headquarters of Israel in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, state media reported late on Monday, while the elite force said they also struck in Syria against the Islamic State. Another statement said it had fired several ballistic missiles at “terrorist operations,” including Islamic State targets, in Syria and destroyed them. However, there was no mention of the Iranian attack on Pakistan. The earliest news on Social media reflects that news about the attack on Pakistan only appeared at 6 AM on 17 January 2024. Hence, the Iranian attack on Pakistan seems suspicious whether it is a truth or lie. However, the Associated Press said that the strikes damaged a mosque, and Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement that two children were killed and three others wounded in the attack
Two days ahead horrifying 7th October 2023, attack on Israel, in a separate act of terrorism during the graduation ceremony of military officers in Syria on 5 October 2023, drone attack killed 89 people including 31 women and five children while 277 others were wounded. No country or group claimed responsibility for the attack. Many analysts are linking the attack on Israel as a retaliatory measure against 5th October attack on Syria. If we recall, many years ago, at a mourning ceremony of an Iranian officer killed in Syria, Iranian General Qasim Soleimani referring to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman said, “He is very impatient and might kill his king and backing of rebels by the Saudis in Syria is only to undermine Iran's influence”. Later, Iranian General Qasim Soleimani was killed in a drone attack on 3 January 2020.
A few days back at Kerman Martyrs Cemetery while the martyrdom anniversary of General Qasim Soleimani was observed, two explosions killed at least 84 people and injured more than 210 people. A US official and counterterrorism expert said the blasts appeared to be a relatively unsophisticated but lethal attack and the Islamic State group would have to be seen as a possible culprit given the militants’ long-running conflict with Tehran. The tug of war in the Middle East and Central Asia continued with intervals till the point where in a misadventure last month, drone attack by Iran-aligned elements killed one US serviceman and injured two others. In retaliation, on 4 January 2024, in retaliation to the Iranian-backed attack, US forces fired two drone-mounted rockets which hit Al-Nujaba headquarters at Palestine Street at Baghdad and killed Mushtaq Talib Al-Saidi, Deputy Commander (Operations) Harakat Al-Nujaba.
We all know that US-led forces invaded Iraq and toppled former President Saddam Hussein in 2003 to create space for Tehran to play the same role, that it played in World War First and, during Shah time or the Islamic Revolution. US withdrew from Iraq in 2011 but then returned in 2014 to fight ISIS as part of an international coalition as Iraqis loyal to late President Sadam Hussain were still powerful enough to take over the political stage in Baghdad. A dirty game in the Middle East is being played where Orthodox Muslims are targeted everywhere. It is high time that all foreign forces from Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and other nations must be withdrawn and allow peace to prevail in the region. One wonders when peace seems evident why and how countries intentionally create tense situations that allow foreign presence to be prolonged. It seems that favorites are facilitated to keep ruling no matter whole country is burned down.