Small Wars Journal

proxy wars

Iran’s Strategic Penetration of Latin America: Consequences for U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 1:01am
This essay explores why Latin America is of paramount strategic importance for Iran, and what factors or events gave Iran access to the region so it could pursue its classic rampant penetration of other nations’ governments and cultural institutions.

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In Libya, Peace is Possible if Foreign Interference Ends

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 4:49pm
"If foreign powers ceased their involvement in Libya, the country’s protracted civil war could come to an end quickly, said Mohamed Syala, the foreign minister of the Government of National Accord, in an interview with the U.S. Institute of Peace. The role of outside powers in Libya’s conflict has garnered renewed international attention in recent weeks as Russia has ramped up its support for Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar’s forces."

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Being a Proxy: The History of Cooptation Offers Lessons to Learn - Are the Kurds Learning Them?

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 3:27pm
They know the drill. Emerging threats, foreign intervention, local alliances, and historic letdowns. Abandonment should not come as a surprise. Great powers have instrumentalized Kurdish nationalism for grand strategy, but cooptation implies agency from the proxy—a willingness to offer its strategic advantages for support or protection. U.S. withdrawal in face of the Turkish incursion in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria shines a light on the challenges of proxy warfare.

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Cracks Appear in Saudi Glass Palace SWJED Tue, 10/29/2019 - 6:18pm
Saudi Arabia’s overweening confidence as a leading Sunni power has been enfeebled by the 14 September attack on its oil facilities. Its sworn enemy, Iran, has carried out the attack by itself or its Houthi proxy in Yemen. It amounts to the same thing.

A Hyper-Mobile Defense: Iran’s Novel Strategy to Sustain Proxy Conflicts in the Middle East

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 12:29pm
A hyper-mobile defense’s goal is to shock, not destroy, the enemy through rapid, repeated, multi-directional engagements. The fixed objectives serve to lure in vulnerable tanks, helicopters and armored personnel carriers along pre-planned routes, making them easy targets for the small strike teams. While this shock technique did not entirely destroy the Israeli force, it did disrupt the attacker’s central strategy of a swift, air-covered, armored penetration. The desire of achieving a quick, comprehensive strike for effect has long been the linchpin of effective urban conquest.

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Everything Old is New Again: Russian, Chinese, Iranian and North Korean Use of Proxies Against the United States

Mon, 09/23/2019 - 4:29am
What role do unofficial transnational and criminal organizations play in the global adversarial competition among nations occurring today? How specifically do Russia, China, Iran, North Korea or other specifically named adversary employ unofficial transnational or criminal organizations in its strategic efforts to undermine the United States or its allies?

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Reclaiming the Initiative: Proxy Warfare in the Middle East

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 5:39pm
In today's security reality, proxy warfare represents an especially relevant tool in the state's kit. Iran has employed proxy organizations to great effect, while the American and Israeli militaries currently seem reticent to systematically study and employ proxies. Without fully understanding proxy warfare, the US, Israel, and their allies will struggle to take the initiative against Iran in the region.

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A Game as Old as Empire: The Return of Proxy Wars in Afghanistan

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 9:30am
History is repeating itself in Afghanistan. Proxy wars and great power politics is returning to the country. It is putting Afghanistan once again at the center stage of regional and global rivalries over influence for a variety of geostrategic interests and the quest for resources. This time, unlike the past, there are many players including almost all of Afghanistan's neighbors - with the prominent players being Pakistan, Iran, China and India.

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From Proxy Wars to Direct War Between Iran and Saudi Arabia: America’s Options SWJED Mon, 11/13/2017 - 2:33am

The fundamentalist rulers of Iran are confident that their goal of establishing a coalition of Shia countries and regions under their control is nearing fruition.