Terror Drives Governments Into Military Pacts

Deals are struck and unstruck on an almost daily basis across the volatile Middle East as governments vie with each other for power and influence.

In a week of continued violence provoked by Islamic militants, Saudi Arabia and Iran are still jockeying for supremacy in the region.

Their rivalry is now extending beyond the Middle East to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Terrorists have struck in Turkey and Pakistan, while the US has apologised to Iran for mistakenly allowing patrol boats to stray out of international waters.

Nine German tourists died in a suicide bomb blast in Istanbul. ISIS has claimed responsibility and is widely thought to be aiming at disrupting Turkey’s lucrative tourist industry which is winding up for the summer season.

Suicide bombers

Meanwhile, 14 people died when another suicide bomber struck outside a polio clinic in the Pakistan city of Quetta.

Three attackers and seven security officers also died in another suicide attack claimed by ISIS at the Pakistan consulate in the city of Jalalabad in Afghanistan.

The attack coincides with Pakistan brokered peace talks between the Taliban, Pakistan and the US.

The city is at the centre of the ISIS stronghold in Afghanistan, where the group has been fighting the Taliban for control of the region.

Pakistan also played host to high-ranking Saudi royals this week and pledged to support the integrity of the Saudi Arabian nation– but hedged bets to remain in favour with neighbouring Iran by stopping short of confirming troops would be sent to help defend the borders.

China tests military might

The fingers of influence and conflict are stretching out of the Middle East as China has aligned military ties with Pakistan as well.

Pakistan already has a deal with China to supply eight submarines and is said to be responsible for buying 40% of China’s arms exports despite receiving billions of dollars of military equipment from the US to shore up the army and air force to tackle the Taliban.

Military experts say China is using Pakistan’s fight with the Taliban as a testing ground for military equipment which has not performed in combat.

“This puts the Chinese at a disadvantage with other nations such as the US and Russia, who have seen their military hardware put to use in the Middle East conflicts,” said China watcher Pieter Wiezeman.

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