Small Wars Journal

urban operations

Philippine Forces Cleared this City of Islamist Militants in 2017. It’s Still a Ghost Town.

Philippine Forces Cleared this City of Islamist Militants in 2017. It’s Still a Ghost Town. Story by Shibani Mahtani and Regine Cabato, Photos by Hannah Reyes Morales, Video by Jason Aldag – Washington Post

At the edge of a bridge leading into the heart of the devastation from a 2017 siege against Islamic State-linked militants, an electric-blue billboard stands apart from the ruins.

“Marawi will rise again! Soon . . .” it proudly declares in rainbow-colored letters.

 

So far, it sounds like an empty promise.

 

More than a year since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared the city liberated, Marawi looks almost as it did when the bombs and bullets stopped flying in October 2017, following five months of urban combat.

 

Not a single new structure has been built. Almost none of the debris has been cleared. Snakes and mosquitoes infest the bright-green canopy of weeds engulfing the ruins. The odd stray dog has taken refuge inside battle-ravaged buildings.

 

About 100,000 people displaced from the Marawi violence are unable to return home, living with relatives or in camps across the southern island of Mindanao. This predominantly Muslim region has seen clashes for decades between Philippine security forces and various groups of insurgents and militants, including the Abu Sayyaf.

 

Marawi, however, stands apart…

Read on.

New SWJ Book - Blood and Concrete: 21st Century Conflict in Urban Centers and Megacities

Just released - "Blood and Concrete: 21st Century Conflict in Urban Centers and Megacities" provides a foundation for understanding urban operations and sustaining urban warfare research. This "Small Wars Journal" (SWJ) Anthology documents over a decade of writings on urban conflict.

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SWJ Book Review – “Underground Warfare”

Tunnel warfare is now becoming a contemporary concern as seen in its use by AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb) in Mali, and by Hamas for smuggling, terrorism, and increasingly as a means of urban warfare in Gaza, Syria, and Iraq. Among other things, underground warfare is likely to merge with urban operations and proliferate in the megacity battles of tomorrow. Richemond-Barak does an excellent job of building a foundation for addressing these tactical, operational, and strategic challenges.

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Surrounded, Yet Unaware: Achieving Isolation in Future Urban Terrain

This article identifies future complications in achieving physical and psychological isolation, which both historically and doctrinally are so essential to successfully achieving military objectives in urban terrain. Furthermore, this article outlines tactical leader application of a new urban operational framework to understand and achieve both physical and psychological isolation in this future environment.

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