An irregular fighter in a (would-be or actual) popular insurgent army. It comes from a Spanish word meaning "little war" (guerra=war, guerilla=little war). Guerrillas hide in inaccessible areas and split up into small units instead of trying to confront their enemies head-on. They usually rely on support from the local population to keep them hidden and to supply them with food and other provisions. Their base of operation is an area such as a forest, mountainous terrain or tunnels underground, although there is also a term "urban guerrilla" referring to someone who tries to use guerrilla tactics in a city environment.
Guerrillas establish bases in what are called foca (singular foco) or base areas, with the theory being that these areas will gradually expand until the guerrillas control the entire countryside and the enemy is isolated in the cities. This is supposed to culminate in an eventual direct war, as happened in China. But today, guerrilla tactics are more often used to harass and impose costs on powerful armies so that they are unable to control a territory and are eventually forced to leave.
Guerrillas are archetypically left-wing, usually adhering to some version of Maoism, Guevarism or some other version of statist communism. It was from such currents that the idea of guerrilla war emerged. However, the term can also be applied to indigenous movements (e.g. the OPM), fundamentalists (e.g. the Afghan mujahideen) and even some right-wing populist groups backed by the US (such as Renamo in Mozambique). Although the emphasis on support from the impoverished masses gives guerrilla strategy a left-wing bent, it is a strategic approach and not a political tendency, so in theory a guerrilla can have any political perspective compatible with attempting to win popular support.
Battles between guerrillas and government forces in the breakaway province left hundreds dead.
Iraqi insurgents have insufficient resources to confront American troops head-on, so they have resorted to hit-and-run guerrilla tactics.
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