Proxy wars

Those wars instigated by major powers without themselves becoming directly involved. For instance, during the cold war the two superpowers fought a number of proxy wars whilst avoiding a direct confrontation. The Middle Eastern Cold War between Iran and the Saudis is partly sectarian, and partly a realpolitik battle for influence within the region. The cold war between them also entails a role for great powers. The United States tends to support Saudi Arabia, whilst Russia and China provide some level of political support for Iran.