Background on Sistan and Baluchestan Province
Sistan and Baluchestan Province in Iran is the second largest province in the country, after Kerman Province. There are in all 31 provinces in Iran. With an area of 180,726 km² and a population of 2.7 million. It is in the southeast of the country, bordering Pakistan and Afqhanistan. The capital of the province is Zahedan.
The population of the province comprises majorities of Baluch and Sistani Persians and small communities of Kurds and other ethnic groups.
More than 30 tribes live in Sistan and Baluchestan. Many of them subsist from cattle breeding and agriculture.
In an interview published on Iranian state news agency, Aftab News, the representative of Zahedan in the Iranian Parliament, Alim Yar Mohammadi said: ‘More than 75% of the people in Sistan and Baluchestan do not have access to sufficient food. People live in circumstances of dire poverty, similar to that witnessed in parts of Africa.’
18 years have passed since a major drought hit the province. Its effects are still felt but the authorities have yet to address this.
Ali Asghar Mirshekari, The deputy security chief of Sistan-Baluchestan province said the unemployment rate in the province is about 40 percent. Sistan and Baluchestan is the youngest province in the country, with three percent of the country's population, 35 percent of whom are people under the age of 16.
Alim Yar Mohammadi, the representative of Zahedan said: " I have seen a large number of people who have serious skeletal and digestive problems. Even in the city of Zahedan, 350,000 people do not have access to tap water, and in other parts of the city they obtain water by water tankers.’ The situation of extreme poverty prevailing in the province makes it susceptible to anti-regime messages.
Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice)
In 29th January 2019, a suicide bombing targeted a police headquarters in the city of Zahedan. Three people were injured. A Baluch Group Called "Jaish Al Adl " claimed responsibility for the attack. On February 2 the group announced another attack on one of the headquarters of IRGC’s ground forces in Nikshar, Sistan and Balouchestan. One IRGC member was killed and five more injured according to IRGC affiliated news agencies.
Jaish Al Adl is a Baluchi militia group. The group's leadership is Abdul Rahim Mollazadeh (Salah al-Din al-Faruqi). The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the eastern provinces of Sistan-Balochistan province.
Jaish al adl has three military branches, based on three regions in southeastern Iran. The organization operates close to the Iranian-Pakistani border line to escape to Pakistan immediately after operations.
The military group, Abdolmalek Mollazadeh, operates in the city of Sarbaz and Rask, the Sheikh Zia’i military group in the Saravan area and the Maulvi Nematollah Towhidi group in the area of Miriwa and Zahedan. In its first operations, Nematullah's group lost one of its main members , Zubair Ismaili.
The Abdolmalek and Sheikh Zia'i groups conduct the main operations of Jaish Al Adl. Those areas have very tough frontier roads. The two groups act as guerrillas . The group also set up an intelligence branch named after Zubair Ismaili, whose major mission is to identify Baluch Sunnis that are working alongside the Iranian regime.
A description of Jaish al-Adl on the Tabnak website claims Jaish al-Adl links with US and Israeli intelligence. The website was founded by Mohsen Rezaee, who is a senior IRGC officer and a conservative Iranian politician:
‘Information assessments indicate that the Jaish al-Adl group was formed by a group which broke off from Abdul Malik Rigi, headed by Abdul Rahim Malazadeh under the nickname Salahuddin Farooqi. It would indicate that the organizational chart of this group was closed with the advice of some members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps The purpose of this action is to form a more organized and more organized group than the Rigi Group (Jundallah), with less error and vulnerability.
US and Mossad intelligence services and some Arab states of the region are supporting this group. A look at the group's goals shows that several special missions and decisions for this group have been taken by the US intelligence community. In addition they have strategic goals to overthrow the Islamic Republic, this group has also stated its tactical goal is to break the hegemony of Iran in the present situation in the region. This group's base is inaccessible for the Pakistani government, but the government has not taken steps to dismantle this base. In the field of international affairs, this group has been completely associated with Zionist conspiracies. For example, it officially supported the partition of Sudan and has not issued any statement against the actions of the Zionist regime and the United States.
There are also documents about the funds of this group. Some evidence shows that the group has used expensive military equipment in recent operations.’ (Translated from Farsi).
Confirmed attacks conducted by Jaish Al Adl:
25 August 2012 - 10 IRGC fighters killed in a gun attack
4 November 2013- attacks on Border guards in Saravan, Sistan and Balouchestan. In a statement released on the official blog of the group, the cause was the "defense of the Baluchi youth" as well as condemning the intervention of Iran in the Syrian civil war.
8 February 2014- the group took a number of border guards hostage on the Iran-Pakistan border. In return for the release of the hostages, Jaish Al Adl asked for the release of 50 members of the group, two hundred Sunni prisoners held in Iran and fifty Sunni women who had been detained in Syria by the Revolutionary Guard. In an announcement on April 4th, 2014, Jaish al-Adel announced that they had freed the hostages following the intercession of prominent Sunni leaders.
In several attacks in April 2014 clashes took place between Jaish al-Adl and the IRGC, with losses on both sides.
Several attacks in 2014-2015 on the border markets that are under the control of the IRGC.
27 March 2015 - In the Negor region Jaish al-Adl fighters crossed the Iranian-Pakistan border and killed eight IRGC members before returning to Pakistan.
26 April 2017- 9 IRGC members killed by long rang weapons fired from inside Pakistan.
16 October 2018- 14 IRGC men taken hostage.
29 January 2019 - police HQ targeted, three injured.
2 February 2019 attacked Qods headquarters of IRGC’s ground forces. One killed and five injured.
13 February 2019 attack on IRGC bus reportedly killing 27
From the pro-regime website: Habilian (Translated from Farsi).