What is a Razakar (Pakistan)?

Introduction Razakar Urdu: رضا کار, literally “volunteer”; Bengali: রাজাকার) was an East Pakistani paramilitary force organised by General Tikka Khan in then East Pakistan, now called Bangladesh, during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The force is accused of committing war crimes during the war including massacring civilians, loot and rape. Refer to Chinilpa and… Read More


An Overview of the Colombian Conflict (1964-Present)

Introduction The Colombian conflict (Spanish: Conflicto armado interno de Colombia) began on 27 May 1964, and is a low-intensity, asymmetric war between the government of Colombia, far-right paramilitary groups, crime syndicates, and far-left guerrilla groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Popular Liberation Army (EPL),… Read More

What is a Private Army?

Introduction A private army or private military is a military or paramilitary force consisting of armed combatants who owe their allegiance to a private person, group, or organisation, rather than a nation or state. Refer to Private Military Company and Private Defence Agency. Brief History Private armies may form when land owners arm household retainers… Read More

What is a Violent Non-State Actor?

Introduction In international relations, violent non-state actors (VNSAs), also known as non-state armed actors or non-state armed groups (NSAGs), are individuals or groups that are wholly or partly independent of governments and which threaten or use violence to achieve their goals. VNSAs vary widely in their goals, size, and methods. They may include narcotics cartels,… Read More

What is Military Urbanism?

Introduction Military urbanism is the militarisation of urban areas. Overview This can include changes to built environments in military conflict areas or modifications of cityscapes to strengthen or subvert control by authorities. Military urbanism concerns the planning and implementation processes by which areas are fortified and militarised. Refer to Militia, Gendarmerie, and Paramilitary. This page… Read More

What is a Paramilitary?

Introduction A paramilitary is an organisation whose structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but is not part of a country’s official or legitimate armed forces. Paramilitary units carry out duties that a country’s military or police forces are unable or unwilling to handle. Other organisations may… Read More

What is the Gendarmerie?

Introduction A gendarmerie is a military force with law enforcement duties among the civilian population. The term gendarme is derived from the medieval French expression gens d’armes, which translates to “men-at-arms” (literally, “armed people”). In France and some Francophone nations, the gendarmerie is a branch of the armed forces that is responsible for internal security… Read More