Sociology Index

Terrorist Groups

Terrorist groups prosper because they are supported by an ethnic, religious, or political base. According to forbes, of the 18,814 deaths caused by terrorists around the world in 2018, well over half were due to the actions of just four terrorist groups: Islamic State, the Taliban, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram. Sociology of Terrorism is gaining importance as a subject of study, and as Martha Crenshaw observed, "The actions of terrorist organizations are based on a subjective interpretation of the world rather than objective reality." Terrorist groups view the world within the their own ideology or terrorist ideology, whether it be Marxism, Leninism, anarchism, nationalism, Islamic fundamentalism, or some other ideology.

Abu Nidal Organization (ANO). The terrorist group ANO was also called Fatah Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Brigades, Black September and Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims.

Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). The terrorist group ASG is primarily a small Muslim terrorist group operating in the southern Philippines. Some ASG leaders allegedly fought in Afghanistan during the Soviet war. The terrorist group split from the Moro National Liberation Front in the early 1990s under the leadership of Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade
The terrorist group was also called al-Aqsa Martyrs Battalion. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade consists of an unknown number of small cells of terrorists associated with the Palestinian Fatah organization. The terrorist group emerged at the outset of the 2000 Palestinian intifadah to attack Israeli targets.

Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
The terrorist group is an Islamist extremist group. The terrorist group aims to overthrow the Algerian regime and replace it with a fundamentalist Islamic state. The GIA began its in 1992 after the military government suspended legislative elections in anticipation of victory by the Islamic Salvation Front.

Asbat al-Ansar
The terrorist group is a Lebanon-based Sunni extremist group composed primarily of Palestinians with links to Usama Bin Ladin’s al-Qa’ida organization. The terrorist group follows an extremist interpretation of Islam that justifies violence against civilian targets. The terrorist group’s goals include overthrowing the Lebanese Government and thwarting pro-Western influences in the country.

Aum Shinrikyo
The terrorist group was a cult established in 1987 by Shoko Asahara. The terrorist group Aum aimed to take over Japan and then the world. The group ran candidates in a Japanese parliamentary election in 1990. The cult began to emphasize the imminence of the end of the world and that the United States would initiate Armageddon by starting World War III with Japan.

Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
The terrorist group was also called Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna and Batasuna. Founded in 1959 with the aim of establishing an independent homeland based on Marxist principles and covering the Spanish Basque provinces as well as the autonomous region of Navarra and the French Departments of Labourd, Basse-Navarra, and Soule.

Gama'a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group)
The terrorist group was also called Islamic Group and al-Gama’at, Egypt’s largest militant group. It has an external wing with supporters in several countries. The terrorist group’s issuance of a cease-fire in 1997 led to a split: one, led by Mustafa Hamza; the other, led by Rifa’i Taha Musa.

HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
The terrorist group was also called Islamic Resistance Movement. HAMAS was formed in late 1987 as a Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. HAMAS elements have used both violent and political means to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in Israel. HAMAS’ strength is concentrated in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)
The terrorist group was also called Harakat ul-Ansar. HUM is an Islamist militant group based in Pakistan that operates in Kashmir. It is aligned with the radical political party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam’s Fazlur Rehman faction. Fazlur Rehman Khalil stepped down as HUM emir, turning the reins over to the popular Kashmiri commander to Farooqi Kashmiri. Khalil, who has been linked to Usama Bin Ladin assumed the position of HUM Secretary General.

Hizballah (Party of God)
The terrorist group was also called Party of God, Islamic Jihad and Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine. Formed in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, this radical Shia group takes its ideological inspiration from the Iranian revolution and late Ayatollah Khomeini. Hizballah has actively participated in Lebanon’s political system since 1992.

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
The terrorist group Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is a group of Islamic militants from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states. Closely affiliated with al-Qa’ida and, under the leadership of Tohir Yoldashev, anti-US, anti-Western agenda. The IMU remains committed to its goal of overthrowing President Karimov and establishing an Islamic state in Uzbekistan.

Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) (Army of Mohammed)
The terrorist group was also called Army of Mohammed Tehrik ul-Furqaan and Khuddam-ul-Islam. The Jaish-e-Mohammed is a group based in Pakistan that was formed in early by Masood Azhar upon his release from prison in India. The terrorist group’s aim is to unite Kashmir with Pakistan. The JEM’s leader, Masood Azhar, was released from Indian imprisonment in December 1999 in exchange for 155 hijacked Indian Airlines hostages.

al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad)
The terrorist group which was also called Jihad Group, Egyptian Islamic Jihad and EIJ merged with Usama Bin Ladin’s al-Qa’ida organization in 2001. Ayman al-Zawahiri was the former head of AJ. al-Jihad’s primary goal has been the overthrow of the Egyptian Government and the establishment of an Islamic state. The terrorist group’s primary targets have been high-level Egyptian Government officials as well as US and Israeli interests.

Kahane Chai (Kach)
The terrorist group Kach’s stated goal is to restore the biblical state of Israel. Founded by radical Israeli-American rabbi Meir Kahane which means "Kahane Lives". The terrorist group receives support from sympathizers in the United States and Europe.

Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
The terrorist group was also called PKK. Founded by Abdullah Ocalan in 1974 as a Marxist-Leninist organization and formally named the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in 1978. The PKK’s goal has been to establish an independent, democratic Kurdish state in southeast Turkey, northern Iraq, and parts of Iran and Syria.

Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LT) (Army of the Righteous)
The terrorist group was also called Army of the Righteous, Lashkar-e-Toiba, al Monsooreen, al-Mansoorian. LT is the armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organization, Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad, an anti-US Sunni organization formed in 1989. LT is led by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and is one of the best trained groups fighting in Kashmir against India.

Lashkar i Jhangvi

Lashkar i Jhangvi is the militant offshoot of the Sunni sectarian group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan. The terrorist group focuses on anti-Shia attacks and was banned by Pakistani President Musharraf in an effort to rein in sectarian violence. Many of its members then refuge in Afghanistan with the Taliban. In January 2003, the United States added LJ to the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
The terrorist group was also called The Tamil Tigers and The Ellalan Force. The LTTE is the most powerful Tamil group in Sri Lanka. It has relied on a guerrilla strategy that includes the use of terrorist tactics.

Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK)
The terrorist group was also called The National Liberation Army of Iran. The MEK philosophy mixes Marxism and Islam. The organization was expelled from Iran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and its support came from the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. The MEK conducted anti-Western attacks prior to the Islamic Revolution.

National Liberation Army (ELN)
The ELN is a Colombian Marxist insurgent group by urban intellectuals inspired by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. It is rural-based.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)

The terrorist group was also called Islamic Jihad of Palestine. Formed by militant Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the 1970s it is committed to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel. The terrorist group operates in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
PLF-Abu Abbas Faction
The Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) broke away from the PFLP-GC and later split again into pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions. The terrorist group is based in Iraq since 1990, has a presence in Lebanon and the West Bank.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)

Founded by George Habash when it broke away from the Arab Nationalist Movement in 1967. The PFLP wants a revolution against Western imperialism. The terrorist group earned a reputation for spectacular international attacks that have killed at least 20 US citizens.

PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC)

The PFLP-GC split from the PFLP in 1968, claiming it wanted to focus more on fighting and less on politics. It was opposed to the Arafat-led PLO. The PFLP-GC is closely tied to both Syria and Iran.

Usama Bin Ladin Organization

Al-Qa’ida was established in 1988 with Arabs who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. Goal is to unite Muslims to fight the United States as a means of defeating Israel, and expelling Westerners and non-Muslims from Muslim countries, and establishment of a pan-Islamic caliphate throughout the world.

Real IRA
32-County Sovereignty Committee

RIRA was a "political pressure group" dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and unifying Ireland. The terrorist group operates in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and Irish Republic.

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)

The military wing of the Colombian Communist Party, the FARC is largest and best-equipped insurgency of Marxist origin. The FARC is governed by a general secretariat led by long-time leader Manuel Marulanda including senior military commander Jorge Briceno.

Revolutionary Nuclei (formerly ELA)
The terrorist group is also called Revolutionary Cells, Revolutionary Popular Struggle, ELA. The group is believed to be the successor to or offshoot of Greece’s most prolific terrorist group Revolutionary People’s Struggle. RN has not claimed an attack since November 2000.

Revolutionary Organization 17 November
17 November is a radical leftist group established in and named for the student uprising in Greece that protested the ruling military junta. 17 November is an anti-Greek establishment that seeks the ouster of US bases from Greece and the severing of Greece’s ties to NATO and the European Union (EU).

Revolutionary People?s Liberation Army
The terrorist group is also called Devrimci Sol, Dev Sol and Revolutionary Left. The group espouses a Marxist-Leninist ideology and is vehemently anti-US, anti-NATO, and anti-Turkish establishment.

Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC)
The terrorist group is also called Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat. The Salafist Group for Call and Combat seeks to overthrow the Algerian Government with the goal of installing an Islamic regime. GSPC is currently the most effective and largest armed group inside Algeria. In contrast to the GIA.

Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL)
Sendero Luminoso People’s Liberation Army

Abimael Guzman formed SL in Peru in the late 1960s, and his teachings created the foundation of SL’s militant Maoist doctrine. Approximately 30,000 persons have died since Shining Path took up arms in 1980. Its stated goal is to destroy existing Peruvian institutions and replace them with a communist peasant revolutionary regime.

United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)
Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia
The AUC is an umbrella organization formed to coordinate the activities of local paramilitary groups and develop a cohesive paramilitary effort to combat insurgents. Primary objective is to protect its sponsors from Marxist insurgents. Approximately 3,600 AUC-affiliated fighters have demobilized since November 2003.

Communist Party of the Philippines/New People?s Army (CPP/NPA)
The NPA is a Maoist group with the aim of overthrowing the Government through protracted guerrilla warfare. The NPA’s founder, Jose Maria Sison, directs CPP and NPA activity from The Netherlands, where he lives in self-imposed exile. Fellow Central Committee member Luis Jalandoni also lives in The Netherlands and has become a Dutch citizen.

Jemaah Islamiya organization (JI)
JI is believed to have cells spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Investigations indicate that JI is fully capable of its own fundraising.