The Iranian Regime has expressed concerns that a former Pakistani Army Chief will head the Islamic Military Alliance, causing Pakistan to reiterate that this alliance targets terrorists- not individual countries.
Mehdi Honardoost, Iran’s envoy to Pakistan, said: “We are concerned about this issue…that it may impact the unity of Islamic countries.”
It’s perfectly natural for the Iranian Regime to worry that they will be targeted by this alliance, after all, Iran has been widely identified as the number one state sponsor of terrorism and has 14 terrorist training camps inside its borders.
Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif announced earlier this month that General Raheel Sharif (retd) would be leading the 41-state alliance, created by Saudi Arabia after Pakistan issued a no-objection certificate.
Pakistan had contacted Iran prior to issuing the certificate but did not indicate whether Iran was satisfied with the move. Pakistan has given a number of assurances to Iran that they will not be unfairly targeted but Iran has not listened. Pakistan even had to resort to reminding Iran that they have never objected to the Iranian Regime’s close ties to India, so why would Iran object to a Pakistan-Saudi Arabia alliance?
The Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua told a parliamentary committee on foreign affairs on Tuesday, that the alliance was against terrorism and assured Iran that Sharif would not act against them.
She said: “It is difficult for Pakistan to maintain equal relations with both countries but Pakistan will not go against Iran’s interests.”
However, does this mean that Sharif will not unfairly target Iranian terrorist above terrorists from other countries, or that Sharif will give Iran a free pass?
Well, given that the alliance contains 40 other countries, it is likely the former, but Pakistan has told Saudi Arabia that they will not become involved in campaigns against any country.
Janjua reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to easing the tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran but announced that the country would not get involved in disputes between Muslim states.
Sharif even reportedly pushed for countries like Iran to be invited to join the coalition to dispel the idea that the alliance had a sectarian (Sunni v Shia) outlook.
This does not appear to be enough for Iran, however, as Honardoost said that Iran would not be involved in such an alliance; even though no invitation has yet been offered. He would prefer a “coalition of peace” to resolve issues in the Middle East “rather [than] a controversial military alliance”.
Yes, Iran would like a coalition of peace to defeat terrorists; otherwise known as the doormat approach. Of course, Iran would prefer that; if the other countries committed to a peaceful alliance, who would be able to stop Iran from committing terrorist acts?