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First Attack:
Jan. 20, 1975
Strength:
Group is inactive
Classification:
Nationalist/Separatist, Communist/Socialist
Last Attack:
June 20, 1997
Financial Sources:
Unknown

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Agopyan, Agop
Melkonian, Monte
Tarakciyan, Agop
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Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) • Rival and Ally
New Armenian Resistance (NAR) • Ally (Suspected)
Ninth of June Organization • Splinter Group
Orly Organization • Shared Members
September-France • Suspected Alias/Ally
more...
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ASALA Flag
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Designated:
No
Watched:
No
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US Terrorist Exclusion List Designee: No
UK Proscribed Group: No
Australia Specified Group: No
Canada Specified Group: No
EU Specified Group: No
Russia Specified Group: No
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The US State Department has designated groups into three different classifications. Click on one of the following to learn more about each group and to access their group profiles.

Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)

Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL)

Other Terrorist Organizations (OTO)

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image Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA)

Mothertongue Name:
Hayastani Azatagrut'yan Hay Gaghtni Banak

Base of Operation: Armenia; Lebanon

Founding Philosophy: The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) was the most well-known, well-organized, and prolific of the Armenian terrorist groups of the 1970's and 1980's. Founded in 1975 by Hagop Hagopian and Hagop Tarakciyan, ASALA operated mainly out of bases in Beirut. ASALA's primary objective was to increase awareness of the Armenian genocide and further the cause of Armenian independence. In 1915, Turkey (then the center of the Ottoman Empire) attempted to eliminate systematically the sizable Armenian minority living within its borders; estimates of the final death toll range anywhere between a few hundred thousand to upwards of two million people. The anger of the Armenian people, both in Armenia and abroad, only grew with time. Turkey added fuel to the fire by refusing to acknowledge the scope of the killings or apologize publicly for them. Some Armenians hoped that, as the Holocaust had generated international support for the founding of Israel, increasing awareness of the Armenian genocide (brought on by terrorist acts) might help them gain an independent homeland. In addition to its nationalist mission, ASALA also promoted Marxism-Leninism and allied with other international terrorist groups with similar leanings, including the Irish Republican Army, Italian Red Brigades, and Kurdistan Workers Party.

Current Goals: Between 1975 and 1985, the ASALA claimed responsibility for more than fifty attacks, a number that goes up by ten or so if the actions of ASALA splinter groups are included. Most ASALA and ASALA-affiliated acts of terrorism were aimed at Turkish diplomats or Turkish interests in the Middle East and Europe. After a bombing at Paris' Orly Airport in 1983, the group began to split into competing factions and eventually disappeared altogether. No major act of international terrorism was committed by ASALA between 1985 and 1997, but in the latter year, the Turkish Embassy in Brussels was bombed and a man called authorities claiming that the ASALA was responsible. However, experts doubt the veracity of this claim, and no further ASALA activity is expected. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia has become an independent, sovereign state, thereby fulfilling the major objective of most of the terrorists. Former terrorists now find themselves in the government or the military (or perhaps fighting the Azerbaijanis in the contested province of Nagorno-Kabakh), rather than conducting a campaign of international violence from the shadows.

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Further Reference
Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1984, U.S. Department of State
Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1986, U.S. Department of State
Patterns of International Terrorism: 1982, U.S. Department of State
"Monte Melkonian : Armenian revolutionary leader / Joseph E. Vorbach.," Joseph E. Vorbach, 1994., Frank Cass & Co., (London, England )
Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1994, U.S. Department of State

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Related Categories
Knowledge Base Directory > Groups > Location > Eastern Europe > Armenia
Knowledge Base Directory > Groups > Ideology > Communist/Socialist
Knowledge Base Directory > Groups > Location > Eastern Europe
Knowledge Base Directory > Groups > Location > Middle East / Persian Gulf > Lebanon
Knowledge Base Directory > Groups > Location > Middle East / Persian Gulf
Knowledge Base Directory > Groups > Ideology > Nationalist/Separatist

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TKB Data Status
Incident data: Last updated on Sept. 30, 2007
Indictment data: Last updated on July 1, 2007


  Data is subject to revision as events and additional information warrant.
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1968 - Present
Incidents Injuries Fatalities
84 299 46
Targets:
Government 1%
Private Citizens & Property 2%
Airports & Airlines 34%
Business 13%
Diplomatic 41%
Journalists & Media 1%
Other 2%
Religious Figures/Institutions 1%
Transportation 2%
Data for 1968-1997 covers only international incidents.
Data for 1998-Present covers both domestic and international incidents.

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) attacked Diplomatic target (June 20, 1997, Belgium)

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) attacked Diplomatic target (Dec. 19, 1991, Hungary)

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) attacked Diplomatic target (Feb. 2, 1988, Lebanon)

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) and Other Group attacked Diplomatic target (Oct. 29, 1987, Lebanon)

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) attacked Other target (Mar. 3, 1986, Lebanon)

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