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Paramilitaries of Iran man a heavy machine gun during Iran-Iraq War

A paramilitary (sometimes listed as quasi-military) is a militarised force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces.[1] Under the Law of Armed Conflict, a state may incorporate a paramilitary organization or armed agency (charged with police functions) into its armed forces. The other parties to a conflict have to be notified thereof.[2]

The term paramilitary is subjective, depending on what is considered similar to a military force, and what status a force is considered to have. The nature of paramilitary forces therefore varies greatly according to the speaker and the context.

Types[edit | edit source]

Depending on context, "paramilitaries" may include:

Irregular forces[edit | edit source]

Auxiliary forces[edit | edit source]

Law enforcement[edit | edit source]

Political[edit | edit source]

Government agencies[edit | edit source]

  • CIA Special Activities Center.
  • DEA Special Response Team.

Home guards[edit | edit source]

  • Volunteer Defence Corps, such as Volunteer Defence Corps in Thailand, Volunteer Defence Corps in Australia, Shanghai Volunteer Corps, and Royal Hong Kong Regiment.
  • The Village Guards of Turkey

Civil Defence[edit | edit source]

  • The fire departments of many countries and locales, although unarmed, are often organized in a manner similar to military or police forces.
  • The Belgian Civiele Bescherming and Singapore Civil Defence Force.
  • The Australian State Emergency Service.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "paramilitary". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. June 2005; online version June 2011. http://oed.com/search?searchType=dictionary&q=paramilitary. Retrieved 2011-09-13. "Designating, of, or relating to a force or unit whose function and organization are analogous or ancillary to those of a professional military force, but which is not regarded as having professional or legitimate status." 
  2. "Customary IHL - Section B. Incorporation of paramilitary or armed law enforcement agencies into armed forces". Icrc.org. http://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v2_cou_nl_rule4_sectionb. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 

Further reading[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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