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"In Central Asia, as in much of the developing world, the warlord is returning triumphant while the state withers in its arbitrary, post-colonial borders. Transnational dynamics at the sub-national level are interacting to create regional incubators for violent non-state actors (VNSAs). Some VNSAs already pose a real, direct challenge to state sovereignty and regional security."

Lords of the Silk Route

Para-Military Groups

Terrorist
Jihad
Pirates
Mercenary

A "state" has a legitimate monopoly on the use of force. In his lecture “Politics as a Vocation" (1918), the German sociologist Max Weber defines the state as a “human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory."

In practice, entities recognized as states typically have fixed boundaries that normally exhibit only minor variations on a time scale of decades. States typically have populations of millions of people. Although states are not immortal, they typicallly persist for many decades, if not for several centuries. At the dawn of the Third Millenium, there were approximately 200 such states in existence.

The various militant outfits collected here as paramilitary groups are not states, though many of them would like to become states. They range in scope from small terrorist groups to rather large insurgencies. In contrast to states, they either control no territory or assert influence over a range of territory that changes with time, and typically has a population measured in thousands not millions. These militant outfits seldom persist for more than a few decades, as militants are killed faster than they are recruited, or as initial enthusiasm fades. And unlike the states which are their enemies, there does not seem to be any upper limit to the number of these outfits, a number which has kept growing in recent decades.

Terrorism should not be confused with insurrection; if it were the same, all those who fight oppression would be labeled as terrorists. One of the more damaging cliches making the rounds is that "One man's terrorist is another's Freedom Fighter." The principle targets of terrorists are innocent civilians or unarmed officials who are killed in order to terrorize populations or goad the government into unwarranted repression. Terrorism may be the weapon of the weak, a prelude to insurrection or insugency, but most militant outfits fail to graduate to these higher levels of struggle.

Islamic Paramilitary Groups

Communist Paramilitary Groups

African Paramilitary Groups

East Asian Paramilitary Groups

European Paramilitary Groups

Middle Eastern Paramilitary Groups

South Asian Paramilitary Groups

Southeast Asian Paramilitary Groups

Latin American Paramilitary Groups

North American Paramilitary Groups

Organized Crime



  • Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO)
  • Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Terrorism List
  • Terrorist Exclusion List 21 May 2004
  • Designated Terrorist Organizations - UAE
  • Banned Terrorist Organizations - India
  • Banned Terrorist Organizations - Pakistan
  • Australia Listed terrorist organisations

  • BRIAN: Are you the Judean People's Front?
    REG: We're the People's Front of Judea!
    REG: The only people we hate more than the Romans are the ... Judean People's Front.
    JUDITH: Splitters!!
    FRANCIS: And the Judean Popular People's Front.
    P.F.J.: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Splitters. Splitters!!!
    LORETTA: And the People's Front of Judea.
    P.F.J.: Splitters!!! Splitters!!!!
    REG: We're the People's Front of Judea!
    LORETTA: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.
    FRANCIS: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?
    REG: He's over there.
    P.F.J.: Splitter!!!

    Life of Brian - The People's Front of Judea


  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2014 Bureau of Counterterrorism, US Department of State 19 Jun 2015
  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 US Dept. of State 30 Apr 2014
  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Dept. of State 30 May 2013
  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Dept. of State 31 Jul 2012
  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Dept. of State 18 Aug 2011
  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2009 Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Dept. of State 30 Aug 2010
  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2008 Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Dept. of State 30 Apr 2009
  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2007 Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Dept. of State 30 Apr 2008
  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Dept. of State 30 Apr 2007
  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2005 Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Dept. of State 28 Apr 2006
  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2004 Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Dept. of State 27 Apr 2005
  • Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003 US Dept. of State 30 Apr 2004
  • Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002 US Dept. of State 30 Apr 2003
  • Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001 US Dept. of State May 2002


  • Terrorist Groups @ NCTC
  • Cedema - Centro De Documentacion De Los Movimientos Armados
  • Country Reports on Terrorism
  • Patterns of Global Terrorism
  • Terrorism Designations Press Releases
  • Entities and other groups and undertakings associated with Al-Qaida UN
  • NONSTATE ARMED GROUPS (NAGs)
  • Mapping Militant Organizations
  • Combating Terrorism Center @ West Point
  • Armed Groups Project
  • Footnotes to History [ephemeral polities]
  • Groups @ MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base
  • National Liberation, Separatist and Self-Determination Web Sites Directory
  • Separatist and Independence Movements
  • South Asia Terrorism Portal
  • Terrorists, Freedom Fighters, Crusaders, Propagandists, and Mercenaries on the Net
  • Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)
  • TRAC | Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium



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