Pakistani lawmaker Mushahid Hussain Syed has suggested Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ cross-border airstrikes might have occurred without government knowledge.
Senator Hussain Syed, head of Pakistan’s Defense Committee, told Iran International that the attack seemed like a “deep state operation” to save face following a series of recent security breaches, the latest of which was twin blasts on the death anniversary of IRGC-Quds Force former commander Qasem Soleimani in Kerman.
“There were issues of security, and the election is coming up in Iran. I think this was an Iranian deep state operation,” he said, explaining that “Iran has multiple centers of power.”
Hussain noted that Iran’s Quds Force, which is in charge of operations overseas, has historically played a dominant role in Iran’s foreign policy, particularly in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, pointing the finger at the body which also manages Iran’s regional proxies. “A lot of foreign policy initiatives are not decided by Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs or even by the president perhaps,” he said. “It was their own operation.”
However, it is unlikely that such an operation was not given the green light by the country’s Supreme Leader who has the ultimate control of Iran’s proxies abroad. “I don’t think the Iranian Foreign Minister knew about it, because two hours before the operation he had a very cordial and pleasant meeting with our prime minister in Davos,” he said, suggesting that the operation was kept to a closed circle.
“It was an Iranian deep state operation by their Revolutionary Guards, who operate as a state within a state, and they are very powerful,” he underlined, saying that “Qasem Soleimani was the most powerful man in Iran after the Supreme Leader.” Countries such as the UK have called Iran its number one threat after tens of attacks on its soil have been foiled, coordinated by Iran’s Quds Forces and Ministry of Intelligence.
Hussain also noted the timing of Iran’s attack on its neighbor, amid heightening regional tensions. He suggested that Iran flexing its military might could be Iran’s desire to send a message to Israel, the US and the West that “if you want to attack us, bomb us, we are ready for a military strike.”
He said, “I think it was pressure on Iran after the al-Aqsa Flood operation,” referring to Hamas invasion of Israel on October 7 that was the onset of the escalating Middle East conflict.
By attacking targets in Pakistan, Iraq and Syria within 24 hours, Iran wanted to send a message to the West that it has “the capability, the willingness and the intention” to act militarily if the need arises while its proxies wreak havoc across the region, including Yemen’s Houthis blockading the Red Sea. Iran continues to deny its involvement in any of its proxies missions from Hamas in Gaza to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Iran misjudged the response from Pakistan and Iraq which, following the attacks, both not only recalled ambassadors but lodged legal action at the UN Security Council. Iran also did not account for Pakistan’s retaliatory airstrikes.
Through what Hussain called “stupid action”, “Iran has brought Iraq back into the American lap … lost the goodwill in Pakistan and the region… and also showed that Iran’s military power has its limits.”