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2006 - International Studies Association Pages: 111 pages || Words: 33503 words || 
1. O'Brien, James. "Exporting Jihad: Iran's Use of Non-State Armed Groups" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA, Mar 22, 2006 <Not Available>. 2020-01-23 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The inability of states to counter U.S. technological and strategic power on the conventional battlefield requires that states employ an insurgent-style of warfare against U.S. forces. More then any state, Iran has utilized the strategic employment of asymmetry to achieve multiple objectives. Through a combination of militias, insurgencies, terror groups, and organized crime organizations, Iran has built an effective counter to the United States' conventional supremacy. Consequently, Iran's use of non-state armed groups has enormous implications on the future of international security.

This paper examines Iran’s use of non-state armed groups to achieve its political and security objectives. It recognizes the use of non-state armed groups as being a critical component to an Iranian security doctrine that is guided by strategic asymmetry. Specifically, it examines: the political and strategic cultures that contribute to the use of non-state armed groups; the structural components that facilitate their use; the operational particulars of the groups which Iran utilizes; the broader implications of their strategic employment.

To achieve this qualitative study, this paper uses an architecture for the study of non-state armed groups. This architecture was developed by Professors Richard Shultz, Douglas Farrah, and Itamara Lochard in the US Air Force INSS Occasional Paper (57), entitled “Armed Groups: A Tier-One Security Policy.” This framework provides four categories of non-state armed groups, and it utilizes six variables for the analysis of individual groups.

Analysis leads this study to conclude the following: Iran’s senior leadership sees the exportation of jihadi insurgencies as paramount to achieving its long-term ideological goals.

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