Coercive Engagement: A Security Analysis of Iranian Support to Iraqi Shia Militias [open pdf - 465KB]
"According to the US Air Force Posture Statement 2008, at any given moment the USAF has more than 26,000 Airmen deployed to fight the global war on terrorism. Of those deployed, over 6,200 directly support the land component commander by filling 'in lieu of' taskings with the US Army. While deployed to the Central Command area of responsibility, our Airmen face a growing tactical threat from increasingly hostile and deadly attacks from Iraqi Shia militia groups such as the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade. These groups are directly and indirectly supported by Iran. Iran's support to the Shia militias in Iraq has both tactical- and strategic-level implications to US security policy. This article addresses the issue in earnest and provides the reader with increased knowledge and understanding of this complex relationship in addition to providing sound policy prescriptions to deal with this growing security threat. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union were crumbling, the United States found itself in the unique position of being a lone superpower in an international system that was quickly shifting from bipolarity to unipolarity. This did not mean, however, that US preeminence would be forever guaranteed, and events in the 1990s and the early years of the new millennium brought new security challenges as the country faced the growing threat of terrorism from abroad. Today, the United States finds itself engaged in the Middle East as never before, fighting dual wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while simultaneously attempting to maintain its unipolar status in the international system."
Strategic Studies Quarterly: http://www.maxwell.af.mil/au/ssq/
Strategic Studies Quarterly (Summer 2009), v.3 no.2, p.99-123