Shining a Light on Iran’s Shadow War


Author: Lt Col, Michael Redding, USAF, USA

18 February 2024


Iran’s Gray Zone Strategy

Iran is running the world’s most effective gray zone campaign and hardly anyone has noticed. By combining a punishment strategy covered in plausible deniability with an influence strategy under the threshold of conflict, Iran is quietly reclaiming its place as the regional hegemon of the Persian Gulf. Iran employs ballistic missiles, maritime militias, mines, and drones to threaten international chokepoints in the Red Sea, Straits of Hormuz, and Bab Al Mandeb while simultaneously unleashing terrorism, bribery, disinformation, and weapons proliferation to influence regional adversaries (Eisenstadt 2021, 79, 81). Two recent articles shed light on Iran’s multipronged gray zone campaign within the context of the Israel-Hamas War.


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The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the J5 Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, the NESA Center, or any other governmental agency.