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The Future of Iran's Influence Through Proxy Employment


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Iran has been expanding its influence globally by utilizing a large network of proxy organizations outside of the state's borders. These various proxy networks have been successful in implementing Iranian foreign policy while maintaining a distant relationship to the state. The use of proxy networks is not a new concept, yet Iran has had long-term success while other states within the region have had difficulties with proxy employment. This thesis examines whether Irans effectiveness in utilizing proxies through the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) is a sustainable foreign policy option to promote Iranian regional interests. This thesis finds that Iran thus far has been successful with managing the balance between proxy clients and the relationships of political leaders, especially within the Iraqi state. It is ascertained that Iran's employment of proxy clients will continue to remain a cost-effective means of expanding its influence and implementing Iranian foreign policy goals while retaining the ability to distance itself from the client as needed. Furthermore, the large-scale success that the Iranian-backed organizations have seen while fighting under the PMF, and the independent military status the Iraqi government granted to the PMF, have solidified political representation from organizations such as Katai'ib Hezbollah (KH) and Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) for the foreseeable future.



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