The Yemen Theatre: Historical Motivations in the Saudi-Iranian Proxy Drama
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This thesis seeks to contribute to Andrew Mumford’s proxy war theory by applying it to the ongoing regional conflict in Yemen. Mumford’s definition of proxy war expounds that ideology is the primary underlying motivation for benefactors to engage in proxy conflict. This thesis proposes to include a three dimensional framework that asserts that ideology, economics, and regional power interests intertwine to account for the underlying motivations of a benefactor. In order to build an unabridged understanding of Saudi-Iranian motivations, the research delves into the historical chronology of the Saudi-Iranian proxy war from 1979 onwards. Through the evaluation of the three motivational dimensions in the historical Saudi-Iranian proxy war, climaxing in the most recent theatre of Yemen, the thesis sets out to refine Mumford’s theory. The thesis conclusively finds that Saudi Arabia and Iran are primarily motivated by regional power interests in Yemen. By extension, the research recommends that Mumford’s conceptualization of proxy war should be set to include both economic and regional power interests, alongside ideology, as motivating factors for benefactors engaging in proxy war.