Sistan and Baluchestan insurgency

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Sistan and Baluchestan insurgency
Part of Balochistan conflict
Locator map Iran Sistan and Baluchestan Province.png
Date c. 2004–present (14 years)
Location Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran
Status Ongoing
Commanders and leaders
Units involved
Border Guard
Revoluionary Guards
Ministry of Intelligence

The Sistan and Baluchestan insurgency, part of the Balochistan conflict, began approximately in 2004[1] and is an ongoing low-intensity[2] asymmetric conflict[3] in Sistan and Baluchestan Province between Iran and several Baloch Sunni militiant organizations[4] which are designated as terrorist organizations by Iran.[5]



Sunni Baloch rebels

Foreign involvement

Role of Pakistan

Pakistan is Iran's neighbour, sharing borders of its Balochistan which is base of Baloch nationalist separatist groups. These Pakistani Baloch militia groups are allied with Iranian groups. Iran and Pakistan historically have a strategic alliance fighting these groups. However, Iran has accused Pakistan of supporting insurgency in Iran several times. In February 2014 the two states signed a pact sharing responsibility for combating militants operating across the border.[1] According to a former U.S. intelligence officer, Jundallah leader Abdolmalek Rigi was captured by Pakistani officials and delivered to Iran with U.S. support: "It doesn't matter what they say. They know the truth."[12]

Allegations of foreign involvement

Iran has long accused foreign states supporting insurgency in Sistan and Baluchestan. Several sources such as the ABC News, The New York Times, Daily Telegraph and Seymour Hersh have reported that Jundallah has received support from the United States.[13][14][15][16][17] Israel,[12] Saudi Arabia,[18] United Kingdom[19] and Sweden[20] are other states allegedly sponsoring the group.

Claims of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) support were debunked by a subsequent investigation showing that the CIA "had barred even the most incidental contact with Jundallah." The rumors originated in an Israeli Mossad "false flag" operation; Mossad agents posing as CIA officers met with and recruited members of Jundullah in cities such as London to carry out attacks against Iran. President George W. Bush "went absolutely ballistic" when he learned of Israel's actions, but the situation was not resolved until President Barack Obama's administration "drastically scaled back joint U.S.-Israel intelligence programs targeting Iran" and ultimately designated Jundallah a terrorist organization in November 2010.[12] Although the CIA cut all ties with Jundallah after the 2007 Zahedan bombings, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and United States Department of Defense continued to gather intelligence on Jundallah through assets cultivated by "FBI counterterrorism task force officer" Thomas McHale; the CIA co-authorized a 2008 trip McHale made to meet his informants in Afghanistan. According to The New York Times: "Current and former officials say the American government never directed or approved any Jundallah operations. And they say there was never a case when the United States was told the timing and target of a terrorist attack yet took no action to prevent it."[21]

Mashregh News which has close ties to the IRGC, has accused Qatar for supporting both Jaish ul-Adl and Harakat Ansar Iran, alongside Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Taliban.[22] Harakat Ansar Iran has made an appeal on Saudi Arabian websites for funding.[23]

The conflict has also interpreted as part of Iran–Israel proxy conflict.[24]

Motivations of the insurgent groups

Analysts believe that aim of insurgents may differ from separatism to religious motivations, but they are not entirely clear. The leaders of the groups have maintained different positions:[1] from baloch nationalism to salafi jihadism.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ur Rehman, Zia (May 2014), "The Baluch insurgency: linking Iran to Pakistan" (PDF), The Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre 
  2. ^ Roksana Bahramitash, Eric Hooglund (2011). Gender in Contemporary Iran: Pushing the Boundaries. Taylor & Francis, p. 158.
  3. ^ Poyraz, Serdar (November 2009), "Turkish-Iranian Relations: A Wider Perspective" (PDF), SETA FOUNDATION FOR POLITICAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH 
  4. ^ "Volatile Sistan-Baluchistan Region Is Base for Insurgents", Wall Street Journal, 19 October 2009 
  5. ^ Cummins, Chip (April 6, 2015), "IRGC wipes out terrorist cell in Sistan-Baluchistan", Radio Zamaneh 
  6. ^ "Iran trapped in a ring of unrest". Asia Times. 22 October 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "Heavily armed "terrorist" team arrested in Sistan-Baluchistan". Radio Zamaneh. 2 February 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Iran calls for return of abducted border guards held in Pakistan". The Telegraph. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "Harkat ul-Ansar (HAI)". Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice)". Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "Ansar Al Furqan". Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c Perry, Mark (2012-01-13). "False Flag". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  13. ^ Lowther, William (2007-02-25). "US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  14. ^ Shipman, Tim (2007-05-27). "Bush sanctions 'black ops' against Iran". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  15. ^ Brian Ross and Christopher Isham Report: (2007-04-03). "ABC News Exclusive: The Secret War Against Iran - The Blotter". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  16. ^ Hersh, Seymour M. (2009-01-07). "Annals of National Security: Preparing the Battlefield". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  17. ^ Risen, James; Apuzzo, Matt (9 Nov 2014). "Port Authority Officer Kept Sources With Ties to Iran Attacks". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 Nov 2014. 
  18. ^ Zoglin, Richard (1987-10-12). "Did A Dead Man Tell No Tales? - Printout". TIME. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  19. ^ "One Programmes - Panorama, Obama and the Ayatollah". BBC. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  20. ^ "HDNet Original Programming - Transcripts". Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  21. ^ Risen, James; Apuzzo, Matt (2014-11-08). "Getting Close to Terror, but Not to Stop It". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  22. ^ "نگرانی سلفی ها از مدل اهل سنت ایران؛ قطر در جنوب شرق ایران به دنبال چیست/ گروهک انصار ایران چگونه شکل گرفت؟" (in Persian). Mashregh News. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  23. ^ "Pakistani Jihadis Abduct Iranian Soldiers". The Daily Beast. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  24. ^ "Breaking the Resistance with Terrorism and Proxy Wars". New Eastern Outlook. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
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