Comparing Yemen to Cold War Proxy Wars

Thumbnail Image
Publication or External Link
Riazi, Leila
McWeeney, Margaret "Peggy"
This paper examines whether or not the current conflict in Yemen can be considered a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This classification would have significant policy implications for the United States and coalition forces. In order to assess this, I compared the Yemeni war to proxy wars during the Cold War. Specifically, I used the Vietnam War and the Korean War. In order to make the comparison uniform I assessed each conflict based on three premises of proxy wars; the alignment of interests between proxies and benefactors, the ability for benefactors to downplay or hide their involvement, and that the involvement of the benefactor increases the chance of success for the proxies. Using these criteria I assessed that the current civil war in Yemen is a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the same way that the Vietnam and Korean wars were proxy wars between the United States and the Soviet Union.