In a rare exchange of fire, Iran and Pakistan have launched attacks on each other’s soil. Islamabad on Jan. 18 hit “hideouts” allegedly associated with Pakistani Baluch separatist groups inside Iran, reportedly killing at least nine people. Two days prior, Iran struck “headquarters“ of Iranian Baluch separatist group Jaish Ul-Adl in Pakistan.
Islamabad and Tehran have each emphasized that only their own nationals have been targeted. As such, while the respective airstrikes have violated sovereignty, the lack of any local victims provides a diplomatic off-ramp for both governments. Yet the incidents have caused a major crisis in the bilateral relationship—and raised questions about the true underlying motives involved.
Looking ahead, a senior Iranian political source downplayed the possibility of further escalation and cautioned other actors against attempting to seize on existing tensions. Addressing current dynamics, a second informed...
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