Small Wars Journal

Why U.S. Troops ‘Flattened’ Raqqa and Mosul, and Why it May Herald an Era of ‘Feral City’ Warfare

Why U.S. Troops ‘Flattened’ Raqqa and Mosul, and Why it May Herald an Era of ‘Feral City’ Warfare by Kyle Rempfer - Military Times

The U.S. military’s biggest successes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria involved uprooting the militants first from Mosul, Iraq, and then Raqqa, Syria.

 

But those operations are also catching the most flak for what many human rights groups and international organizations viewed as a callous use of artillery and air power that killed too many civilians.

 

The battles, as terrible as they were, serve as an important bellwether that may mark a new era of urban warfare involving mega-cities, according to retired Army Maj. John W. Spencer, chair of Urban Warfare Studies at West Point’s Modern War Institute.

 

“We fail to recognize as a government that cities are the strategic terrain of the future," Spencer said at the Future Security Forum in Washington, D.C., Monday. “After World War II, the global population went from 3 billion to 6 billion in 39 years and they’re all living in cities. The fastest growing cities are the most underdeveloped.”

 

Spencer introduced a term — feral cities — not in many military leaders’ lexicons, yet something that could be the 21st century equivalent to the failed state. The Pentagon, he said, should be paying attention…

Read on.