Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Nation of Baluchistan blooms on the dessert air, perhaps

Some 1,500,000 Balochi live in Iran, as a result of an agreement between Britain and Iran in the mid-19th Century.  They live mostly in the Sistan and Baluchistan Province in Southern Iran, Iran's poorest and most neglected province. They are mostly Sunni in Shia Iran and are mistreated by Iranians.

Around 400,000 Balochi live in Afghanistan, a consequence of the insensitive Durand Line dividing he Pashtun people in 1893.  The Baloch people hav customs compatible with the Pashtun the live at peace with them.  The Afghan Baloch are are now at war with the United States.  The live mainly in the Afghanistan provinces of Nimroz, Helmand, Kandahar, and Farah, where the United States' "surge" took place and from whence the United States drones Balochi living in North Balochistan, who, in turn, are said to plot against the United States.

At least 13,000,000 Balochi live in the Baluchistan Province of Pakistan  They make up about 5 % of Pakistan's population.  They are mistreated by the Oxford-educated, English-speaking Rulers of Pakistan  who are predominately Punjabi.

The Pashtun and the Balochi have similar cultural traditions and
 live at peace with one another.

Many Balochi, but perhaps not a majority of them, agitate for the Nation of Baluchistan which would be made of Balochi living in Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. . .

. . . and being poor have had little leverage to secure either a Nation or a better life for themselves.

The Baloch now have some leverage.

Pakistan needs natural gas and needs it badly.

Iran, its neighbor to the East, has the World's largest natural gas field, , badly needs to export it, and Pakistan has signed agreements for the Iran-Pakistan Pipeline.  The IP Pipeline, if completed, would satisfy Pakistan's energy needs, and perhaps India's and China's.  It would run through Balochi territory.

To the North, above Afghanistan, Turkmenistan has the World's' second largest natural gas fields (third, if Russia's is counted). The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline, TAP or TAPI, if completed, would supply all of Pakistan's energy needs, and also reach India and China. It would run through Baluchi territory.

The IP Pipeline is supported by Iran and the previous Pakistan administration.  It is opposed by the United Staates with all the instruments of power at its disposal, save War; and by the Horrible Saudi.  The newly-elected president of Pakistan is close to the Saudi, and seems intent on renegotiating the US incursions on Pakistan territory.  The fate of the IP Pipeline is unknown yet.

The TAPI pipeline is supported by Pakistan, and the United States supports it as an alternative to the IP Pipeline, even though Turkmenistan is ruled by Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov, President for Life, a holdover from the Soviet rea with a wretched human rights record..  The TAPI Pipeline must cross Persian-specking Tajiks in Hera;, Afghan  Pashtun and Balochi in Kandahar; and the Baluchi in Pakistan. It must cross the especially  active region of  Quetta. That presents negotiating challenges, milady stated.

An organized Balochi could block either pipeline, or at l sabotage either.  It is uncertain whether there is a group in Baluchistan sufficiently organized to force concessions from either Iran or Pakistan.

The prospect of organized opposition to Iranian or Pakistani despotism is slim, given Islamabad's and Tehran's inhumane repression (see The Baloch people have a right to self-determination), and there is some reason for optimism despite persecution.

For a thoughtful look at Baloch prospects, see Baloch Nationalism and the Geopolitics of Energy Resources: The Changing Context of Separatism in Pakistan,Strategic Studies Institutie, United States Army Waar College.


Tourists don't go to Balochistan areas often, so most of the images posted on line are of violence, and that is not typical of the area.  The Baloch are a tribal people and I do not possess any characteristic that would fit tribal mores.  Within the communities of the Baloch, there is much to admire, including the ability to survive in a harsh land.  See, e.g.here.

Baloch in Pakistan:

Quetta in the North, the capital of the Pakistan provine of Balochistan:

Below, images of Asura, 2012,in Quitta, an annual religious rite
 of the large Shiite population of Quetta,
not bombed by Sunni in 2012,
mourning the masterdom of Hussein
on the plains of Karbala in what is now Iraq.  
Hussein was the grandson of  the Holy Prophet.

Gwadar, a port city on the Arabian Sea being developed by China, which will province China a trace route throughout central Asia.  Baloch nationalists see an effort to drown out their calls for independence.

Kauzdar, in the center, the capital of the Kauzdar District.  The district has a population of about 500,000 Balochi:

Balochi satire.  Pakistani saluting  the Pakistan flag.

The Baloch Dessert, which occupies most of Pakistan

My satire:
Texas, Our Texas! all hail the mighty State!
Texas, Our Texas! so wonderful so great!

Balochi in Iran

The Sistan and Baluchistan Province of Iran


Balochi in Afghanistan

Possibly cattle rustlers

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