The Country That Can Least Afford It Is Getting Involved In Syria

Fatimah Mazhar
Russia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it was “deeply concerned” by reports that Saudi Arabia was planning to buy weapons from Pakistan to arm Syrian rebels to fight against President Bashar al-Assad.

Sheikh sahab, nawaz and Assad

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it was “deeply concerned” by reports that Saudi Arabia was planning to buy weapons from Pakistan to arm Syrian rebels to fight against President Bashar al-Assad.

It’s a well-known fact that the Saudi and Russian governments are among the major stakeholders in the Syrian crisis. Long-existing tensions between both the nations further intensified due to the conflict.

However, one fails to understand why Pakistan – of all the countries in the world – would want to become a part of the Middle Eastern civil war since it is already plagued by the threat of terrorism and a brewing separatist uprising at home. If anything, Pakistan needs all the weapons it can get its hands on to quell the crisis at home.


Russia – the last remaining ally of the Assad regime – has long been against any military action in Syria.

Last year, a possible intervention by the United States army was effectively stopped, owing to Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic efforts.

On the other hand, the Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia is among the most prominent countries backing the Syrian opposition. They were also against the U.S. decision to not use military force against Assad’s government.

Therefore, Saudi Arabia providing missiles and rocket launchers to Syrian rebels and the Russian reaction to it makes complete sense.

Related: Syrian Civil War: What Is Happening In Syria? Who Has The Highest Stakes In The Deadly War?

What isn’t logical though is the involvement of Pakistan. It has never been – and ideally shouldn’t be – a stakeholder in Syria or its crisis.

One understandable explanation could be the bilateral relations between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that have historically remained “close and extremely friendly”.

According to a recent Pew Research poll, 95% Pakistanis hold the most favorable perception of the desert kingdom. Even the current heads of states of both the countries share cordial ties.

Still, the exchange of arms and weapons doesn’t seem justified – or reasonable for that matter – because Pakistan is struggling with two of the worst scenarios.

Failed Negotiations With The Taliban Movement of Pakistan (TTP):


The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or The Taliban Movement Of Pakistan (TTP) is an umbrella organization of various Islamist militant groups based in the tribal areas neighboring the Afghan border.

The radical group has claimed thousands of lives – including Pakistani civilians and army personnel – through suicide missions and other attacks over the course of almost seven years.

The government has so far been unable to effectively stop the TTP. Even the absurd idea of negotiating with these terrorists has been unfruitful.

Just this month, the so-called peace talks between the Pakistani government and Taliban insurgents broke down after 23 paramilitary soldiers were killed by the TTP, in what they said was revenge for army operations in the volatile tribal regions.

What’s worse, if Pakistan supplies weapons to Saudi Arabia, it would indirectly be supporting the TTP since the terrorist group has camps and hundreds of men in Syria who are fighting alongside rebels opposed to Assad.

Read More: Have ‘Peace Talks’ Gone Down With The Pakistan’s Taliban Chief Death?

The Separatist Movement:

Map of Pakistan

Apart from the TTP, the government and military of Pakistan is dealing with a separatist movement in the southern province of Balochistan, one of the country’s poorest regions although it has vast natural resources.

Separatists accuse the central government of Pakistan of “systematically” suppressing development in their region.

Moreover, the uprising in Balochistan has led to the formation of more banned organizations, such as The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), that are also committing acts of terrorism.

As if the TTP weren’t enough.

And these were just two of the many problems surrounding the Islamic Republic.

This goes to show how irrational and unwise Pakistan’s decision to get militarily involved in Syria – even if indirectly – really is.