The foot prints of IS in Iran is therefore not surprising at all. The mastermind who has allegedly been killed by Iranian security forces should be a local resident of the place. Already the Iranian security agencies have started pointing their fingers towards Saudi Arabia
The instrument of warfare in the modern world is unambiguously predominantly local rented soldiers who are indigenous, who know the native culture, who are attuned to the geographical tangles, who understand the weather patterns, who can maneuver the tactical operations
The Islamic State (IS) has finally struck in Tehran, the provincial capital of Iran, with twin suicide attacks in which nearly seventeen persons lost their lives. It was the first of its kind of attack aimed at Iranian parliament and mausoleum of Ali Khomeini. Reportedly, one suicide explosion took place on the fourth floor of Iranian parliament building and another at the last resting place of the Iranian spiritual leader in what is now believed to be a complex multi dimensional terror activity. Apart from having a symbolic significance, the attacks are also a reminder to Iranian intelligentsia and armed forces for their involvement in Syrian and Yemeni conflicts. It also indicates the outreach and accessibility of IS adherents who have the capability to undertake such audacious attacks. We shall try to analyse the dynamics of this attack in the light of local, regional and international developments.
A military transformative phase has been going on in which theater of war is changing rapidly. The exposure of regular troops to the rigid geographical and cultural environments has been discouraged gradually. The regulars are now being used for special operations, planning and training purposes only. The rise of private security enterprise has replaced the old military doctrine of boots on ground. These private contractors have certain advantages over armed forces. First, their maneuverability has been immensely enhanced due to absence of any rules or regulations. Their main task is to get the job done at all costs. Second, these contractors are injected in rank and file of an armed gang or a proscribed organisation like the Islamic State. These private security personnel then get assimilated in the network and provide critical details or information about their key members and their hide outs. Third, these private soldiers sometimes employ indirect methods of information collection when they recruit locals for getting first hand human intelligence from disturbed or war torn parts of different countries across the globe. Fourth, any local group affiliated with a regional or international terror organization works on behest of financial gains to get the objectives of a certain intelligence agency. The group members carry out terror attacks in enemy territory and get monetary and logistical assistance for these operations. Fifth, the privatisation of security apparatus has put the operational and tactical command in the hands of private security men. Moreover, they act in accordance with their contractual liabilities and do not necessarily adhere to the established norms of human rights and traditional war regulations. Lastly, these groups cultivate sources in other countries through multiple means so that they use them for perpetration of terror at specific targets.
The foot prints of IS in Iran is therefore not surprising at all. The mastermind who has allegedly been killed by Iranian security forces should be a local resident of the place. Already the Iranian security agencies have started pointing their fingers towards Saudi Arabia but no evidence has been shared with the media in this regard. The important point here is that a clear message has been communicated to Iran that it needs to concentrate at home rather than tinkering with the internal conflicts of her regional allies through logistical, human resource and military assistance. The Shi’a-Sunni divide has widened to new heights and Iran will retaliate either in form of its enhanced support mechanism in Syria or provide renewed assistance to Houthis in Yemen. It may also increase its armed assistance to Hezbollah for maintaining an upper hand in the regional war theatre. There is a strong possibility that Iranian security may establish an IS faction, duly supported and guided by its intelligence agencies, to conduct attacks on the soil of Saudi Arabai and Iraq. Such an act will further exacerbate the sectarian rifts between two regional countries thus dividing the Muslims into two blocks. The Saudis have already created a symbolic alliance of nearly forty countries against the situation developing in Yemen. It might also force these countries to take part in a concerted effort in Syria so that the government of Bashar al Assad can be put under pressure. Recently, Qatar has been sidelined on the pretext of helping IS. Now such an IS faction in Qatar may have been supported by Iranian intelligentsia.
The instrument of warfare in the modern world is unambiguously predominantly local rented soldiers who are indigenous, who know the native culture, who are attuned to the geographical tangles, who understand the weather patterns, who can maneuver the tactical operations, who can direct the local groups and/ or organisations, who like to take calculated risks, who work their way for gaining the strategic objectives of their supporters and leave minimum traces of evidence for pointing any finger towards their support states. The possibilities of such connatural force ranges over a wide spectrum which include using terror as means for achieving national objectives and communicating to the enemy states depth of one’s approachability and reach. The Russians, after the terror in Tehran, have also hinted towards death of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and other IS leaders in one of its precession strikes in Raqqa but no evidence based confirmation has so far been surfaced.
Iran has been jolted through the recent terror activity and should recalibrate its regional security approach. The Iranians have already blamed Pakistan for its inability to act positively against Sunni groups operating in Baluchistan. According to them, these groups have been harbouring Sunni Salafi networks in Iran and are also conducting attacks on its border security forces regularly. If Pakistan cannot promote amity between Saudi Arabia and Iran then it should not put itself in a position to deteriorate the relationship between the two countries. The spillover effects of IS from Afghanistan to Pakistan and from Bangladesh to Iran indicate how localised groups can be mobilised under IS brand to disturb security and create social panic. The media can then be utilised to develop public mindset on an issue to propagate certain policies effectively for strategic gains.