US-Iran Standoff: Implications for Regional Security and Pakistan
The rise of tensions in the broader Middle Eastern region between the US and Iran after President Trump’s withdrawal from JCPOA is worrisome for Pakistan. Moves, such as the US deploying the aircraft carrier and bombers against Iran, alleged proxy attacks by both sides, Saudi calls for surgical strikes against Iran, and Iranian threats to resume the nuclear program, are extreme examples of brinkmanship. Amidst these tensions, Pakistan’s position has become strategically sensitive as it might have to, at some point, have to tilt on one side. This paper aims to study the circumstances that have led to the current state of brinkmanship between the US and Iran and the consequences of an active conflict for the region in general and for Pakistan in particular. The paper argues that maintaining a neutral stance would be the best option for Pakistan in order to be able to engage with the US, Iran, and Saudi Arabia and play some role to lessen distrust and tensions in the region.