Anthony King, Urban Warfare in the Twenty-First Century – Polity, July 2021
Over the last two decades, warfare has migrated into cities. From Mosul to Mumbai, Aleppo to Marawi, the major military battles of our time have taken place in densely populated urban areas. Why has this happened? What are the defining characteristics and the military and political implications of urban warfare today?
Leading sociologist Anthony King answers these critical questions through close analysis of recent urban battles and their historical antecedents. Exploring the changing typography and evolving tactics of the urban battlescape, he shows that whilst some methods used in urban battle are not new, operations in cities have become highly distinctive. Today, urban warfare has coalesced into gruelling micro-sieges, which extend from street level – and below – to the airspace high above the city – as combatants fight for individual buildings, streets, and districts. At the same time, digitalized social media and information networks have communicated these battles to global audiences across the urban archipelago, with these spectators often becoming active participants in the fight.
A timely reminder of the costs and the horror of war and violence in cities, this book offers an invaluable interdisciplinary introduction to urban warfare in the new millennium for students of international security, urban studies, and military science.