By Umer Sultan
The National Public Radio (NPR news) ran a program on the Talk of the Nation about the Results of the Simulated Israeli Strike on Iran by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy (SCMEP), studied by Kenneth Pollack.
In brief there were 3 players of the simulation–America, Israel & Iran. The SCMEP had the players reflecting the currect policies of the US and Israeli governments. The simulation time was 8 days, in which Israel attacked the Nuclear facility of Iran without asking or notifying the United States in advance. After the attacks, the US was told by the Israel that this favor has been done by Israel and that US should help Israel in regards to this. The United States was first angry and then tried to keep Israel aside from the scene and tried to control the situation from getting any worse.
Iran, on the other hand, responded by attacking Israel, while Israel started getting hit my rockets from Lebanon and Gaza. Israel had to send a major land military offensive in order to invade Lebanon and Gaza to stop the rockets. By the end of the simulation (8th day) Iran was mining the Straight of Hormuz, Israel was in the middle of the major land offensive, Saudi Arabia got hit by Iran as well (they didn’t believe that Saudi Arabia had nothing to do with this), Syria was supporting Iran but didn’t know what to do of this sudden nuclear exchange…
Pakistan left out:
The simulation, however, left a major player in this conflict. It is understandable that the simulation was only for 8 days, but it only focused on the gulf states.
The Pak-Iran Relationship:
Pakistan and Iran are closer than the western nations think. The people of Pakistan are in fact more supportive of Iran than the people know in the West. We should remember that during the 2008 US Presidential elections, when John McCain and Barack Obama were campaigning for the race, and John McCain said that “bomb bomb bomb Iran” the people of Pakistan came out on the streets in almost every major city saying that an attack on Iran will be considered an attack on Pakistan. In some rallies it was also said that “we will cross the Pak-Iran border and fight with Iranians.”
It is important to know that after the Independence of Pakistan in 1947, Iran was the first country to recognize Pakistan and:
Following the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, Pakistan was the first country, which recognized Revolutionary Iranian Government. [Pakistan Daily]
However, at two major points Iran and Pakistan had setbacks in their relationship. When Pakistan supported the newly Taliban government of Afghanistan (after the withdrawal of Soviet troops) while Iran opposed it; and more importantly when Iran did not support Pakistan in the United Nations regarding the Human Rights Violation in the Indian occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir in 1996.
Possible Pakistani Reaction:
The attack by Israel in the neighborhood of Pakistan will create massive public uprising. Pakistan does not recognize Israel as a state and the attack on Iran will torch the already rising anti-americanism in Pakistan.
The Pakistani military will feel a direct threat from Israel and the people of Pakistan will come to the streets in protest for sure.
Worst case senario: the “democratic” government of Pakistan will not be able to handle the public uprising. Pakistan will have 2 choices-  A revolution in Pakistan by someone who is very vocal and extreme in views, behind whom the people and organizations could rally around. They will over throw the government.  That is very unlikely to happen because before the over throw of the civil government the Military of Pakistan will stage a coup. Martial Law will be declared because Pakistan (the ally of America), its Generals will absolutely not officially support Iran under American pressure. We might see clashes between the Pakistani military dictatorship and the public. And this is where the militant organizations will do best. [added on April 01, 2010]
The militant and jihadi organizations will be able to attract membership and it is not going to be unexpected if Pakistanis would actually cross the Pakistani borders to join the Iranian forces.
The Shia population of Pakistan is in very much close ties with Iran, and certainly the Shia organizations of Pakistan will participate in Iran’s defense after the attacks by Israel.
However, this response of Pakistani Shias would not be much different from Pakistani Sunnis, because as the world saw during the public protests in Pakistan in the response of John McCain’s rhetoric of bomb bomb bomb Iran, the majority of the protests were arranged by “Sunni” organizations.
The Ultimate Catastrophe:
Pakistan will have a youth uprising at hand. The sentiments of which can be seen among the youth at present and it will not be by “conservatives” because this is the sentiment that will be (and is) shared beyond the political spectrum in Pakistan.
The United States need to be firm and blunt about it. Why should US endanger its troops because of the policies of the State of Israel.
It is good to know that the Saban Center did the simulation on this issue and showed an abstract picture of what could happen. We know that in reality it will get much worst.
May Allah have mercy on this earth and keep the war mongers on everyside from getting into the position to bring this world as we know it to the ultimate catastrope, to the World War 3.