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Proxy war

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A proxy war is an armed conflict between two states or which act on the instigation or on behalf of other parties that are not directly involved in the hostilities.

(2018). 9780415939201, Routledge Books.
In order for a conflict to be considered a proxy war, there must be a direct, long-term relationship between external actors and the belligerents involved.
(2018). 9781845196271, Sussex Academic Press.
The aforementioned relationship usually takes the form of funding, military training, arms, or other forms of material assistance which assist a belligerent party in sustaining its war effort.

During classical antiquity and the , many non-state proxies were external parties which were introduced to an internal conflict and aligned themselves with a belligerent in order to gain influence and further their own interests in the region.

(2018). 9781597972307, Potomac Books.
(2018). 9781783271306, The Boydell Press.
Proxies could be introduced by an external or local power and most commonly took the form of irregular armies which were used to achieve their sponsor's goals in a contested region. Some medieval states such as the used proxy warfare as a foreign policy tool by deliberately cultivating intrigue among hostile rivals and then backing them when they went to war with each other. Other states regarded proxy wars as merely a useful extension of a preexisting conflict, such as and during the Hundred Years' War, both of which initiated a longstanding practice of supporting which targeted the other's merchant shipping.
(2018). 9789004235700, Brill.
The likewise used the as proxies to harass Western European powers in the Mediterranean Sea.
(2018). 9780275974701, Praeger Books.

Since the early twentieth century, proxy wars have most commonly taken the form of states assuming the role of sponsors to non-state proxies, essentially using them as to undermine an adversarial power. This type of proxy warfare includes external support for a faction engaged in a civil war, terrorists, national liberation movements, and insurgent groups, or assistance to a national revolt against foreign occupation. For example, the British partly organized and instigated the to undermine the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Many proxy wars began assuming a distinctive ideological dimension after the Spanish Civil War, which pitted the political ideology of Italy and against the ideology of the without involving these states in open warfare with each other.

(1997). 9781402763021, Sterling Publishers.
Sponsors of both sides also used the Spanish conflict as a proving ground for their own weapons and battlefield tactics.

During the Cold War, proxy warfare was motivated by fears that a conventional war between the and would result in nuclear holocaust, rendering the use of ideological proxies a safer way of exercising hostilities.Wilde, Robert. "Mutually Assured Destruction." About Education., n.d. Web. 23 April 2015. [1]. The Soviet government found that supporting parties antagonistic to the US and was a cost-effective way to combat influence in lieu of direct military engagement.Prof CJ. "Ep. 0014: Fall of the Soviet Empire." Prof CJ, 21 July 2014. MP3 file. In addition, the proliferation of televised media and its impact on public perception made the US public especially susceptible to and skeptical of risking American life abroad.Curtis, Anthony R. "Mass Media Influence on Society." University of North Carolina at Pembroke, 23 June 2012. PDF file. This encouraged the American practice of arming insurgent forces, such as the funneling of supplies to the during the Soviet–Afghan War.The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., n.d. Web. 23 April 2015. .

As abstract
A significant disparity in the belligerents' conventional military strength may motivate the weaker party to begin or continue a conflict through allied nations or non-state actors. Such a situation arose during the Arab–Israeli conflict, which continued as a series of proxy wars following decisive defeat of the coalitions in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the and the Yom Kippur War. The coalition members, upon failing to achieve military dominance via direct conventional warfare, have since resorted to funding armed insurgent and paramilitary organizations, such as , to engage in irregular combat against Israel.Masters, Jonathan, and Zachary Laub. "Hezbollah (a.k.a. Hizbollah, Hizbu'llah)." Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, 3 January 2014. Web. 28 April 2015. [2].Laub, Zachary. "Hamas." Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, 1 August 2014. Web. 28 April 2015. .

Additionally, the governments of some nations, particularly liberal , may choose to engage in proxy warfare (despite military superiority) when a majority of their citizens oppose declaring or entering a conventional war. This featured prominently in US strategy following the , due to the so-called "" of extreme among the American population. This was also a significant factor in motivating the US to enter conflicts such as the Syrian Civil War via proxy actors, after a series of costly, drawn-out direct engagements in the spurred a recurrence of war weariness, a so-called "War on Terror syndrome".

Nations may also resort to proxy warfare to avoid potential negative international reactions from allied nations, profitable trading partners, or intergovernmental organizations such as the . This is especially significant when standing peace treaties, acts of alliance, or other international agreements ostensibly forbid direct warfare: breaking such agreements could lead to a variety of negative consequences due to either negative international reaction (see above), punitive provisions listed in the prior agreement, or retaliatory action by the other parties and their allies.

In some cases, nations may be motivated to engage in proxy warfare due to financial concerns: supporting irregular troops, insurgents, non-state actors, or less-advanced allied militaries (often with obsolete or surplus equipment) can be significantly cheaper than deploying national armed forces, and the proxies usually bear the brunt of casualties and economic damage resulting from prolonged conflict.

Another common motivating factor is the existence of a . They may respond by attempting to undermine such efforts, often by backing parties favorable to their own interests (such as those directly or indirectly under their control, sympathetic to their cause, or ideologically aligned). In this case, if one or both rivals come to believe that their favored faction is at a disadvantage, they will often respond by escalating military and/or financial support. If their counterpart(s), perceiving a material threat or desiring to avoid the appearance of weakness or defeat, follow suit, a proxy war ensues between the two powers. This was a major factor in many of the proxy wars during the between the and , as well as in the ongoing series of conflicts between and , especially in and Syria.

Proxy wars can have a huge impact, especially on the local area. A proxy war with significant effects occurred between the United States and the USSR during the . In particular, the bombing campaign Operation Rolling Thunder destroyed significant amounts of infrastructure, making life more difficult for citizens. In addition, unexploded bombs dropped during the campaign have killed tens of thousands since the war ended, not only in , but also in and ."Operation Rolling Thunder." History. A&E Television Networks, LLC., n.d. Web. 28 April 2015. [3]. Also significant was the Soviet–Afghan War, which cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars,"The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and the U.S. Response, 1978–1980." U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian. U.S. Department of State, 31 October 2013. Web. 28 April 2015. [4]. bankrupting the and contributing to its collapse.

Proxy wars generally have a destabilizing effect. For example, in the , proxy wars between and have devastated the region. This conflict has resulted in, among other things, the Syrian Civil War, the rise of ISIL, the current civil war in , and the reemergence of the . Since 2003, more than 500,000 have died in .Sheridan, Kerry. "War-related deaths near 500,000 in Iraq." Your Middle East. Your Middle East, 16 October 2013. Web. 28 April 2015. [5]. Since 2011, more than 220,000 have died in ."Syria Civil War Fast Facts." CNN. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 13 April 2015. Web. 27 April 2015. [6]. In , over 1,000 have died in just one month."More than 115 children killed in Yemen war." Aljazeera. Al Jazeera Media Network, 24 April 2015. Web. 28 April 2015. [7]. In , more than 17,000 have been killed since 2009."Afghanistan sees record high of civilians casualties in five years." Xinhua,, 19 February 2015. Web. 28 April 2015. [8]. In , more than 57,000 have been killed since 2003."Fatalities in Terrorist Violence in Pakistan 2003–2015." SATP. SATP, 26 April 2015. Web. 28 April 2015. [9].

In general, the lengths, intensities, and scales of existing armed conflicts are often greatly increased when belligerents' capabilities are augmented by external support. Belligerents are often less likely to engage in diplomatic negotiations, peace talks are less likely to bear fruit, and damage to infrastructure can be many times greater.

See also
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