Who Is Behind Latest Iran-Pakistan Border Incident? Who Benefits?

Before diving into Friday night’s border incident where fourteen Iranian border guards were killed and Iran retaliated the next morning by hanging sixteen prisoners already in detention, we need to look back at the important events surrounding other such outbreaks of violence at the Iran-Pakistan border.

On January 1 of 2012, Pakistan detained three Iranian border guards whom they claimed had crossed into Pakistan. Details of the event were sketchy, but Iran claimed the guards were chasing drug smugglers and most of the stories on the event brought up the likely involvement of the group known as Jundallah. Less than two weeks later, a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated on January 11. Only two days after that event, the famous “false flag” article by Mark Perry appeared in Foreign Policy, making the remarkable claim that Mossad agents were posing as CIA agents while recruiting members of Jundallah for operations including assassinations.  Marcy had a series of three posts (one, two, three) delving into the many implications surrounding the false flag accusation. Another border incident then happened in late January, where six “Pakistanis” were killed by Iranian border agents, but there was a lot of confusion over just who the victims were, including their nationality.

Here is how Reuters first broke the news Saturday on this latest incident:

Fourteen Iranian border guards were killed and three others captured by “bandits” on the southeastern frontier with Pakistan overnight, Iranian media reported on Saturday.

In response, the Iranian judiciary executed 16 people it said were elements of “terrorist” groups, according to the ISNA news agency. There were no further details of who they were or whether or when they had been tried.

A follow-up story by Dawn from Sunday has more details, with the identity of the attackers unknown (but Jundallah is still mentioned prominently in the article):

It was still unclear whether the attackers were drug smugglers or armed opposition groups.

However, Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister Ali Abdollahi called on the Pakistani government to “take measures to control the border more seriously.”

Pakistan’s charge d’affaires was received at the Iranian foreign ministry to receive an official demand that Islamabad “act firmly with officials and members of terrorist groups who have fled to Pakistani territory,” IRNA reported.

The Dawn article also notes a second, separate border incident on Sunday in which one Pakistani was killed and four others were wounded.

Responsibility for the attack has now been claimed by a group known as Jeish Al-Adl:

A little-known Iranian Sunni group says it carried out the killing of 14 border guards on Friday night.

Jaish al-Adl said the attack was in retaliation for an alleged Iranian “massacre” in Syria and the “cruel treatment” of Sunnis in Iran.

Iran is now saying that they are a subgroup within Jundallah:

14 Iranian border guards were killed and 6 more were injured during the terrorist attack in Saravan border region in Southeastern Iran in the early hours of Saturday morning. The terrorists who have reportedly been members of the outlawed Jeish Al-Adl radical Sunni Wahhabi movement affiliated to the terrorist Jundollah group fled into Pakistan after the operation in Iran’s Southeastern Sistan and Balouchestan province.

It seems quite interesting to me that Iran would point out the “radical Sunni Wahhabi” connection of the group they are blaming. Of course, the primary sponsor of “radical Sunni Wahhabi” teachings is Saudi Arabia through their madrassas. But Iran seems to be dancing around an outright referral to Saudi involvement in this attack, even though it would make sense since we know that Bandar is now very upset both with the US “failure” to launch a strike on the Assad regime in Syria and the US diplomatic push toward Iran. This same Fars News article doesn’t name names, but refers to “two countries” providing financial support and “three countries” providing intelligence and equipment to them: Read more

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.

Links, 4/22/12

I was never able to keep up with my goal of doing daily link posts last year. That said, there’s so much out today that I want to at least note that I can’t keep up with my own posting unless I dump all these here.

Steven Aftergood notes that your elected representatives are clarmoring for more leak prosecutions.

The EU just caved to US demands for EU passenger data. With Israel dictating no fly lists to Europe and Julian Assange’s lawyer being placed an an “inhibited” list with no explanation, this probably will lead to the US unilaterally dictating who can fly where in this world.

The Guardian asked pastor Terry Jones whether he bears any responsibility for the deaths he may cause if he insists on conducting another Quran burning. The Guardian doesn’t appear to have asked DOD, which is trying to convince Jones not to conduct the burning, why it doesn’t first take responsibility for ending the anti-Muslim abuses and the Quran burning committed by some troops.

In addition to the cooperation with Libya in exposing refugees in the UK, the documents liberated in Libya last year also describe how MI6 collaborated with Moammar Qaddafi to set up a radical mosque in some Western European country to use as bait for Islamic extremists.

Obama just issued an Executive Order basically saying that Syria and Iran should not be able to use tech to crack down on the opposition in the same we the US does.

Apparently we don’t have enough spies so now DOD is rolling out a new (actually, newly renamed) Clandestine Service.

Micah Zenko addresses the stupidity behind refusing to acknowledged our Third War–the drone one–publicly.

As Jack Goldsmith notes in Charlie Savage’s piece describing Obama’s increasing reliance on executive orders to do the work of business, “This is what Presidents do.” Congress has, with its capitulation to big money and greed, basically turned itself into a rump institution doing no more than channeling money into DC’s main industry. I think Obama, with his congressional majority in 2008, might have been able to begin to reverse that if he had actually used his majority rather than pissing it away in a bid for bipartisan crap rather than effective legislation. But he didn’t.

Evgeny Morozov explains why Anonymous’ structure and disparate goals has led to increased surveillance rather than less. I think his analysis suffers from the classic chicken-and-egg fallacy, and fails to account for the degree to which these choices are probably being dictated by FBI-directed double agents. But it worthwhile analysis.

File this news–that half of Iran’s super-tanker capacity is sitting anchored in the gulf with no place to go–in the “whatever could go wrong?” file. If we’re lucky it will involve nothing more than pirates and not fully-laden tankers sunk and draining into the gulf.

Jose Padilla’s mom has appealed her suit against Donald Rumsfeld for torture to SCOTUS. This case is the best set of facts–but the least empathetic plaintiff–of several suits trying to hold the government accountable for torturing American citizens.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.