Academic article

Stater og transnasjonale motstandsnettverk: Irans mobilisering av irakiske sjiamilitser etter 1979

Published: 28 Oct 2019

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been building a transnational network of Shi’a militias since 1979, commonly referred to as its asymmetric warfare capability and ‘strategic depth’. While it is a known fact that Iran has mobilised Shi’a militias in other countries to strengthen its regional position, how they have done it has not received much scholarly attention. The objective of this paper is to explain this phenomenon by examining how Iran has mobilised Iraqi Shi’a militias since 1979. The selected cases are the mobilisation processes of three most prominent Shi’a militias in Iraq today: Badr Organisation, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, and Kata’ib Hizbullah. Although variation exists between them, they are all cases of Iran’s network of armed resistance groups, which have allowed it to engage in covert or indirect conflict intervention in the Middle East. To logically connect the empirical data with the study’s research question, I have used a case study research design, with process tracing and the semi-structured interview as methods for data collection. Furthermore, the empirical analysis has been guided by a theoretical framework that has attempted to build a bridge between the existing literatures on state-militia dynamics and contentious politics.