Iran's Qods Force: Proxy Wars, Terrorism, and the War on America (Hardcover)
The end of the Cold War ushered in a challenging new era for U.S. defense planners. The certainties of planning for conventional war or, in extremis, nuclear war gave way to a new form of unconventional warfare waged by American adversaries like Al Qaeda, Somali warlords, and Iran. Iran's Qods Force examines how one nation state, the Islamic Republic of Iran, has exploited the advantages of unconventional warfare to expand its influence in the Middle East while, at the same time, limiting the impact of U.S. power in the region. At the forefront of its efforts is the Qods Force, the elite clandestine wing of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Owen Sirrs analyzes how Iran uses unconventional warfare to try to achieve one of its most cherished objectives, hegemony over the Middle East, and demonstrates how U.S. policymakers and warfighters were repeatedly stymied by Iran's unconventional warfare strategy, which straddled the threshold between conventional and covert warfare. Iran pursues its hegemonic bid even though it lacks many of the accepted attributes of national power like a strong, diversified economy; a modernized, power-projection military; and allies to balance the strength of its many adversaries. Still, as the book explains through specific examples of Iranian covert action in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, Iran is closer to regional leadership in 2021 than at any time in the last three hundred years.