The Iranian regime maintains a network of proxies including Lebanese Hezbollah, various Shiite militias in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, and foreign fighters in Syria. This paper by the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) provides a look at the problem of states using proxy forces to advance their foreign policy objectives.
The three main chapters of the paper outline the different groups and factors that influence Iranian military and political strategy for Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. The proxy / host country relation is described. The report provides an assessment of vulnerabilities that could be exploited by U.S. special operations forces.
Iran will continue to use their proxy network to frustrate U.S. Middle East strategy and diminish U.S. influence. However, the U.S. is not without appropriate responses. This paper advances the argument that terrorism, counterterrorism, and proxy conflict are inherently political in nature and need not be addressed with a kinetic solution alone.
The authors of this paper are:
- Dr. Diane Zorri – an assistant professor of security studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- Dr. Houman A. Sadri – deputy director of the International Policy and Analysis Center (IPAC)
- Dr. David Ellis – Resident Fellow at Joint Special Operations University (JSOU)
Iranian Proxy Groups in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen: A Principal-Agent Comparative Analysis, Joint Special Operations University, JSOU Report 20-5, 2020.