IATE Term of the Week: Militia

June 20, 2014 12:00 pm

militia1In light of the Iraq crisis, this week’s IATE Term is ‘Militia. The Oxford Dictionary defines this term as “a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities in opposition to a regular army.

The word militia originates from ancient times during the Roman Empire, but arguably it is more correct to say that it derived from the common law tradition in England during Anglo-Saxon times. The term may also be defined as “military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency” or “all able-bodied civilians eligible by law for military service.” While these definitions may be better suited to describe the practice of militias in countries such as the United States during the American Revolution or in the British Empire, the first definition more accurately depicts the situation in Iraq.

Indeed, the Islamist Militant organisation ‘Isis’ may go under the first definition, especially considering its recent assault aimed at Iraq’s largest oil refinery this Tuesday. The refinery is the number one supplier for the country’s refining capacity, which has made the situation in Iraq highly volatile once again. The militants have also threatened to march on Baghdad, and the holy cities of Kerbala and Najaf.

These recent events may very well be regarded as the worst case of instability in Iraq since US troops left. The reasons for the upsurge of militant organisations, however, have mostly been due to increasing pressure from Iran, and now the neighbouring country may choose to intervene to protect the holy cities in danger. The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, “warned that Iran would do whatever it took to protect the shrines.” Regarding US action and intervention, politicians have been divided as they fear getting trapped in another military expedition to Iraq.

Read more about the Iraq crisis here.

The European Union’s relations with Iraq are mostly centred on the country’s transition to democracy, and further promoting regional integration to ensure international stability. In May 2012, the EU and Iraq signed a ‘Partnership and Co-operation Agreement’, which has formed a framework where Iraq can start talks and co-operation on several subjects relating to political and economic issues.

The EU has also been very motivated to aid the recovery and reconstruction, which totals a contribution of over 1 billion Euros since 2003. Concerning the recent Iraq crisis, however, it may be expected that the EU will continue its support for democratisation, and it has also been declared that an EU-Iraq Energy Centre will be constructed to introduce new technologies and advance policy reform in Iraq’s economy.

Read more about the EU’s external policy on Iraq here.

Find out more about the EU’s general policy on countries in North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf countries.

Click here for a short glossary on Iraq.

Militia IATE

We invite you to suggest the equivalent terms in the missing EU languages, or alternatives to the existing term in your language if you consider the proposed term inaccurate. Provide your answer with a reliable reference and an accurate definition and/or context if possible.

A terminologist for the language in question will revise your answer and decide whether to validate them. Given the implications of the process, a delay is to be expected.



By Oscar Larsson
Student at University of Glasgow, School of Social & Political Sciences
Communication Trainee at TermCoord

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