The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







An insurgency is an armed rebellion by any irregular armed force that rises up against an established authority, government, or administration. Those carrying out an insurgency are "insurgents." Insurgents conduct sabotage and harassment. Insurgents usually are in opposition to a civil authority or government primarily in the hope of improving their condition.

Political discourse

The term is inherently political and is difficult to use without taking a political position . When used by an authority under threat, "insurgency" implies an illegitimacy of cause upon those rising up. Whereas those rising up will see the authority itself as being illegitimate. In cases of rebellions, it refers to those who are not part of the decision-making entity that has the ability to make laws. For example, "the congress has the authority to pass laws to stop the insurgency" vs "the police have the power to arrest insurgents". Insurgents do not respect the established authority.

Mass media

In current use of "insurgency" is distinct from terrorism as in "under threat from insurgents and terrorists". Insurgency has come into popular use during 2003 through its use by western politicians and mainstream media to describe those in resistance to the coalition in Iraq; As of 2004, the term is used to signify the rebellion against the Iraq interim government. See Iraqi insurgency for more on the Iraqi insurgents.

See also

  • Rebel -- person active in rebellion, such as members of paramilitary forces.
  • Freedom fighter -- those engaged in rebellion against an established government.
  • Members of popular uprisings:
    • subversives (intent to overthrow or undermine an established government),
    • insurrectionists (armed rebels against the constituted authority),
    • mutineers (rebels that refuse to obey authorities),
    • guerillas (small combat groups who strike, harass and retreat),
    • partisans (group of citizens organized to provide paramilitary service),
    • militants (violent actors who do not belong to an established military).
Last updated: 08-26-2005 02:30:26
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13