Sociology Index

Insurgent and Insurgency

An insurgent is a person who rebels or rises in active revolt against authority he does not approve. Insurgency is an armed rebellion against a constituted authority. The term insurgency is used to describe a movement's unlawfulness because it is not authorized. Insurgent forces are groups of rebellious people rising in active revolt against authority that is not recognized by them.

Six types of insurgent movements can be identified: secessionist, revolutionary, restorational, reactionary, conservative, and reformist. When one talks of communist insurgency, the rebellion is more on ideological grounds. Insurgent forces here are out to change the nature of government. A revolutionary who engages in insurgency as opposed to terrorism, although insurgents also use terrorist methods.

Insurgents attempt to hold territory and generally attack the state's infrastructure, whereas terrorists usually operate in urban areas and attack more symbolic targets. Insurgents usually coerce or abduct civilians to join them, whereas terrorists are highly selective in whom they recruit.

Insurgency - The Context of Terrorism (From Terrorism, Political Violence and World Order, P 173-202, 1984, Henry H Han, ed. - See NCJ-98738) - B E O'Neill, Sale: University Press of America
This study reviews the extant knowledge of insurgency (a political legitimacy crisis) in terms of its general characteristics, analytical components, and various strategies. 
Abstract: A review of the characteristics of insurgency indicates that it is 'a struggle between a nonruling group and the ruling authorities, in which the former consciously employs political resources (organizational skills, propaganda, and/or demonstrations) and instruments of violence to establish legitimacy for some aspect of the political system which it considers illegitimate.' Six types of insurgent movements can be identified: secessionist, revolutionary, restorational, reactionary, conservative, and reformist. A discussion of the violent aspect of insurgency defines terrorism and guerrilla warfare as the prevalent forms of violence. In considering the analytical components of insurgency, the study advises that to maximize the effectiveness of political techniques and violence, insurgents have devised various strategies which are differentiated by examining the relative importance the insurgents ascribe to six general variables: popular support, organization, external support, cohesion, the environment, and the government's effectiveness. The study dismisses the strategic significance of terrorism in achieving insurgent aims and notes its tactical shortcomings.

Terror Sans Frontiers: Islamic Militancy in North East India - Jaideep Saikia 
Abstract: The “little wars” in North East India have been waged primarily on ethnic lines, with almost every insurgent organization owing its natal charts to a distinct ethnic identity. Indeed, the various insurgent charters and assertions too have been characterized by agendas that are determined by the ethnic substratum that sired each movement. 
The insurgency situation in North East India, however, is beginning to witness a unique phenomenon, which could well introduce a different order of extremism than has traditionally been known to exist. Islamic militant activities have begun to proliferate in the region with an urgency that could well have not only a motivation to usurp the separatist mantle from the ethnically based insurgent movements which have been flourishing in the region, but also with a conspiracy to further an agenda which has religious fanaticism and division as important coordinates. This conspiracy seems to be gaining ground particularly after Operation Enduring Freedom and the “detalibanization” of Afghanistan, when active remnants of al-Qaeda and the Taliban reportedly entered Bangladesh, which abuts North East India. The region is also heir to myriad subterfuges by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan and the Directorate General of Field Intelligence (DGFI) of Bangladesh, intelligence agencies that are beginning to expand their aid to North East insurgent organizations by including Islamic groups in the region.