Patrick Cockburn, Qayyarah area, Mosul AFP/Getty
According to The Economist, United Nation Peacekeepers are using the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) facility Baladia (Arab for city) which is a small town with a network of tunnels below a main square, five mosques, cafés, a hospital, multi-storey blocks of flats, a kasbah and a cemetery. This town is part of the Tze'eim army base in the southern Negev desert and built to provide a "realistic training ground for the next time the IDF is required to go into Gaza to destroy Hamas missile launchers" The Economist
Baladia and its use by armed forces from Israel, Western Alliance countries and the UN is further evidence that future conflicts are set to take place more often in an urban context.
"Megacities with populations of more than 10million are springing up across Africa and Asia. They are often ringed by closely packed slums controlled by neighbourhood gangs. Poor governance, high unemployment and criminality make them fertile territory for violent extremism".The Economist
Preparing for an amplified iteration of recent conflicts such as Mosul 2017, a conflict with two methods of counterinsurgency. One was the time consuming and costly hand to hand combat whilst liberating ‘a street at a time’ by special forces in the East of the city, which left the buildings and services relatively intact in comparison to the second approach used to address the West of the city (The old City) which was to bomb from a distance, leaving the districts in ruin and displacing thousands, whilst safeguarding the lives of government combatants
Mosul's polarized battles reveal an interesting and horrid insight to the complexities of modern urban warfare and its impact. A fundamental impact challenging the Iraqi government and aid agencies currently is the approach to post-conflict transition and recovery in an urban context………. (To Read More Click here)