Moving beyond terror groups to examine non-state actors including warlords, gangs and private security companies, Violent Non-State Actors: • Guides you through the core theories and concepts, taking a multidisciplinary approach • Examines different explanations for the emergence of violent non-state actors as well as strategies for dealing with them • Weaves in international case studies from groups including the Islamic State, Los Zetas, Hamas, and Al Qaeda, as well as discussion questions, further reading and definitions of key terms A must read for upper-level undergraduate and postgraduate students in politics, international relations, security and terrorism studies.



Key Terms

  • De facto control
  • Liberation insurgencies
  • Provocation effect
  • Religious insurgencies
  • Revolutionary insurgencies
  • Separatist insurgencies

This chapter explains what is meant by insurgencies. It demonstrates that the primary raison d’être of these groups is to achieve some political goal (such as more autonomy or improved socio-economic conditions) by challenging the host state through armed struggle or challenging other paramilitary groups. The most important goal of the chapter is to demonstrate what the difference is between an insurgency and a terrorist group, two concepts that have often been conflated. Insurgencies can commit acts of terrorism, but they are not the same as terrorist groups. This chapter explains why this is the case.


An insurgency is a substate group that wants to bring about political change, obtain power and political control, and seek ...

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