Suggested Citation: Iris Malone, Unmasking Militants: Organizational Trends in Armed Groups, 1970–2012, International Studies Quarterly, Volume 66, Issue 3, September 2022, sqac050,


USA and Canada

Central America and Caribbean

South America

Western Europe

Russia and Eastern Europe

Central Asia

South Asia

Middle East/North Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa

East Asia


Narrative Components

The narratives center around five different topics:

  • Group Formation: Information about the group’s founding date, its initial goals, ideology, and date when it first came to attention as a violent group.
  • Geography: Information about the group’s operational environment including the names of areas where they operate from, the name of any external sanctuaries, the name of any cities, towns, or neighborhoods where they conduct attacks.
  • Organizational Structure: Information about the group’s organizational structure including its leadership, membership, source of funding, and different wings.
  • External Ties: Information about the group’s ties to other actors including both state and non-state entities.
  • Group Outcome: Information about the state’s response to the group, if any, and how this affects the group. This also identifies whether the group is still active, when it stopped using violence, and what happened to the group to cause it to stop using violence.