Helping Resistance Groups

A State can project power by helping resistance groups, including terrorists, in another country – funding them, whilst denying doing so. 

For example the Russian government has supplied equipment and training to the shadowy Wagner Group of mercenaries who have fought in several countries including Ukraine and Syria – where Russian interests are in opposition to the West.  As reported by globalsecurity.org:

“The Wagner Group’s roots date back to Russia’s proxy war in Ukraine in 2014, when the Kremlin’s definitions of “soldier,” “mercenary” and “volunteer” first blurred at convenience amid its tacit support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s east. While Moscow has long insisted Russia is not formally part of the conflict, Russian fighters have routinely taken part in battles — lured by idealism, propaganda and money.”

Of all covert foreign attempts to overthrow a government, perhaps the 1953 CIA-assisted coup in Iran is perhaps the most notorious.  A Business Insider report, 64 years later, the CIA finally released details of the coup in Iran,  described how Mohammad Mossadeq’s democratically elected government was overthrown; he was replaced by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.  This coup permanently damaged relations between America and Iran. 

There are many other examples of one country trying to undermine another by helping resistance groups.  For example, a BBC article, Who are Hezbollah?, describes how Iran supplies weapons to Hezbollah to help it to attack Israel from Lebanon.  And Chatham House has now reported that Iran’s regional strategy is raising the stakes of Hamas-Israel war: “While Iran has denied involvement in the Hamas attacks on Israel, its backing of a regional ‘axis of resistance’ means it will have a major influence on whether the conflict spreads.”



This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/7344a.htm.