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While proxy wars have been around since time immemorial, the last decade of conflict has seen a rise in their strategic appeal. In the same way that sub-state violence captured the attention of policymakers and academics at the end of the Cold War, proxy wars are now a core feature of the contemporary and future strategic and security environment. Vladimir Rauta argues for a relocation of proxy wars by conceptualising them as strategic bargains waged on more complex grounds than risk avoidance, cost efficiency and deniability. He identifies two types of strategic goals sought through the employment of proxies: coercing and coping with an adversary, the differences of which are presented by contrasting the rationale for the US decision to support Syrian rebels against President Bashar Al-Assad with the Iranian strategy of proxy war in Syria.
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