The Grand Strategy of Militant Clients: Iran’s Way of War
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This article argues that militant clients should be understood as a pillar of Iran’s grand strategy and an extension of its military power. The article examines why Iran has relied on militant clients since the 1979 revolution and the benefits and costs of its client approach. In evaluating these issues, it iden- tifies five main areas where Iran has gained from its client strategy: 1) maintaining independence from the West; 2) suc- cessfully exporting its religio-political worldview; 3) extending its military reach and power; 4) reducing political costs of its foreign activities; and 5) establishing needed regional allies. It further identifies five main dangers that Iran faces by continu- ing its strategic behavior: 1) increased pressure from the United States and a broader US military regional footprint; 2) more unified regional adversaries; 3) the risk of unintended escalation with the United States and regional adversarial states; and 4) enduring regional instability and insecurity.
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