Showing posts with label Urban warfare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Urban warfare. Show all posts

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Asymmetrical urban warfare: How the war in Gaza has been fought

    Sunday, December 31, 2023   No comments

Guerilla warfare is not new. Asymmetrical warfare is common especially when indigenous communities resist invading state armed forces’ formations. The Algerian example often comes to mind when French occupation forces were resisted for decades by Algerian liberation groups (Mojahidin) and eventually forcing France out by the end of the first half of the 20th century.

A similar but also uniquely different struggle involved the Mujahideen groups of Afghanistan who resisted the Soviet Union forces in the 1970’s and 1980’s. That Afghanistan war was also asymmetrical war in that formal military formations of the Society Union faced off with non-state factions. However, that conflict was also a proxy-war between the two superpowers of the time, the United States and the Soviet Union.

In many ways, the US-USSR Afghanistan paradigm was reproduced in Syria during the second decade of this century with US-Russia facing off indirectly. These two proxy-wars, however, are different from the Algerian model and the current Gaza war in that the latter two did not have a superpower for a sponsor or supporter. The Algerian and Gazan resisters were mostly on their own. Because of the geopolitical circumstances and the fact that Gaza is essentially an urban area, the fighting factions in Gaza have developed and adopted unique strategies to counter the 18th most powerful military in the world.

Review of many of the videos produced and released by the armed factions in Gaza show a unique style of warfare never seen in past armed conflicts. The videos depict Man versus Tank kind-of-confrontation, where the local armed groups attack the superior war machines in zero-distance combat.

This video (streamed on Aljazeera TV), and posted on social media, shows how the war is fought in Gaza:

Tank drives on or near the tunnel without seeing it. Tank parks just meters away from the tunnel entrance. Qassam fighter opened the tunnel hatch, took the explosive device, walked over to the tank, placed device, activated it, walked back to the tunnel, then the blast.


Saturday, November 25, 2023

Media review: CNN: The possibility of the Israeli army placing weapons in Al-Shifa Hospital is high

    Saturday, November 25, 2023   No comments

After accidentally revealing that the tunnels under the hospital were built by Israel, CNN is raising doubt about the weapons the Israeli military claimed was found in the healthcare facility.

The American network "CNN" reported that the number of weapons that appeared in a video clip of the occupation "army", which he published on November 15, in which he said that he found them in Al-Shifa Hospital and that they belonged to the Hamas movement, differs from similar scenes that were filmed. By the media crews, which indicates, according to the American network, that the Israeli “army” may have transferred the weapons, or placed them there, before the media crews arrived.

CNN said that it compared the footage published by the Israeli army with the scenes captured by Fox News, which was granted access to Al-Shifa Hospital in the following hours.

The network added that the wristwatch on the wrist of the Israeli army spokesman, who led the photography tour at Al-Shifa Hospital, showed that the time was 1:18 p.m. The Fox News correspondent, who was later admitted to the hospital, said in his report that it was midnight.

"CNN" explained that the "Fox News" scenes showed a bag located behind the MRI machine inside the hospital, and two AK-47 rifles appeared on top of it, while the "Army" scenes showed the presence of one rifle of this model. CNN said that it is not clear where the second weapon came from, and why it did not appear in the Israeli army video.

The network reported that it had contacted the Israeli army to obtain clarifications regarding the apparent contradiction, but had not received a response.

CNN said that there is no evidence yet of the existence of a network of tunnels under Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, and that there is no indication that Israeli forces have uncovered a multi-level tunnel with underground rooms.

Israeli media confirmed that the massive Israeli propaganda after the Israeli occupation “army” stormed Al-Shifa Hospital was a disappointment to the Israeli settlers, who thought that “Israel” would eliminate “Hamas” during its operation.

The Israeli media said that the leadership of Hamas remains cohesive even after the storming of Al-Shifa Hospital, and that its fighters are continuing to fire rockets towards the settlements on the Gaza Strip and towards Tel Aviv.

The media also pointed out that "the army reached recovery, but the goal was not achieved, and we have not yet captured Sinwar or Deif. Yesterday, the army announced that it had eliminated a Hamas official whom no Israeli knew."

The Arab affairs analyst for the Israeli Channel 13, Tzivi Yehezkeli, said that it is clear that there is nothing of real value in Al-Shifa Hospital.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Analyzing the news and views released by Ukrainian and Russian sources about the status and importance of Bakhmut

    Wednesday, May 17, 2023   No comments

Parsing the news and analysis released by Ukrainian and Russian sources about the status of Bakhmut, the year-long battle in the city appears to have limited strategic value, but became important to Ukrainian politicians as a prop to secure more military support.

Here are some facts that might help us understand the narratives about the battle of Bakhmut.

Bakhmut is an industrial city, part of the Donetsk region but also just 20 miles away from Luhansk, both regions are inhabited by majority ethnic Russians and were annexed by the Russian federation as autonomous republics. 

These regions have been at war with the government in Kiev since 2014. When the Russian troops entered Ukraine in 2022, Bakhmut became the frontline. Ukrainian troops used the underground structures and the hills overlooking the region establish durable defensive lines. Those defensive lines became challenged since Russian troops rotated out of the south (west of the river in Kherson region, and concentrated on the Bakhmut-Avdiivka line of contact. In a way, Bakhmut became important for both sides for different reasons:

The Ukrainians want to preserve Bakhmut because they wanted to show that they can not only hold the line, but also take back territory, including Crimea. If Ukrainian government loses Bakhmut right after claiming victory in Kherson, that would raise doubt about its ability to achieve its stated goals—liberate all territories including Crimea.

Russian need to not only take Bakhmut, but move past Bakhmut to justify the redeployment of troops this active line of contact stretching from Dvorichne in the north to Velyka Novosilka in the south. 

Bakhmut is also important in terms of optics. Since it is seen as a year long battle, it enforces the narratives that Ukrainian troops can hold their ground and retake territories. This would explain why the head of the government made his tour of Europe now and not earlier or later: he can use the “success” Bakhmut to secure more military aid. Many analysists believe that if his troops do not take back new territories this year, Western aid will stop. So this cannot be a lost opportunity in that context.

The big picture, however is this: regardless of ends up holding Bakhmut, can these images of a liberated city apply to Kiev too? In other words, are Ukrainians willing to fight in every major city the same way they are fighter in Bakhmut?

Monday, March 27, 2023

There Will be no Bakhmut Left for anyone to Keep or Liberate

    Monday, March 27, 2023   No comments

The battle for the city of Bakhmut is not a battle for the city at all. Because there will be no city after the battle. That is one of the reasons why armed actors who seek shelter among civilians and fires from near their homes are committing a war crime according to international treaties. 

Although far from traditional homeland of Islam, here too, the Mosque stand witness to the recklessness and cruelty of war. A tank that appears to belong to the armed forces of Ukraine is stationed near what is left of a damaged mosque and firing.

There are many reasons why Ukrainian leaders are choosing to make a stand in the city of Bakhmut and not retreat. Perhaps one of the reasons is how they can use homes of civilians and their mosques and ch

urches as shield while they battle with the Russians. They want these cities and towns destroyed if they cannot be preserved under their control. That is criminal intent.

Urban warfare is not a neutral category. Urban warfare, when it is done intentionally, when an army or an armed group decides to engage in war activities from near mosques, hospitals, and other civilian structures, they are committing a war crime. 


When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, the Iraqi army collapsed very quickly. For civilians, especially those in large cities such as Baghdad, that was a good thing. The collapse of the Iraqi military spared large cities from complete destruction. 

But not all Iraqi cities avoided urban warfare. The fate of Fallujah comes to mind. Since the invasion, the city of Fallujah did not actually fall under the total control of the coalition forces. In fact, a year after the invasion, US troops tried to flush out pockets of armed rebels who took the city, especially the old city with its narrow walkways and dense neighborhoods as shield. From April 1 to May 1, 2004, US troops fought running battles with the armed groups. Knowing the cost of urban warfare is high for all sides, US troops decided to leave the city alone. That was the end of the First Battle of Fallujah. That retreat encouraged fighters from inside Iraq and outside Iraq, mostly fighters affiliated with al-Qaeda, to settle in Fallujah and use it as a base for their attacks. That brought back the coalition forces, this time, they were determined to liberate the city even if that meant its full destruction. 

From the first week of November to right before Christmas Eve of 2004, American, Iraqi, and British troops battled with armed groups in the city in what was officially called Operation al-Fajr, popularly known and the Second Battle of Fallujah. In the end, 710 coalition forces were killed or wounded and more than 3,000 rebels were killed or captured. But we may never know how many civilians, out of the more than quarter million residents of the city were killed or injured. That number was estimated to be in the thousands, to add to the estimate total number of 650,000 civilians who were killed in Iran during the invasion. As if two battles were not enough, when ISIL took over large territories in Syrian and Iraq, Fallujah falls back into urban violence once more.

If images of city buildings were an indication of the level of destruction urban warfare can bring, the images of the destroyed homes and mosques tell a story of unlivable devastation—the City of Mosques was reduced to a City of Ruin.

 The same applies to the urban warfare that took place in Syrian and is now taking place in Ukraine. 

Saturday, March 04, 2023

Modern Urban Warfare

    Saturday, March 04, 2023   No comments

This is how "liberated cities" look like when modern armies engage in Urban Warfare. 

It happened in Syria; it is happening now in Ukraine.


Most popular articles


Frequently Used Labels and Topics

77 + China A Week in Review Academic Integrity Adana Agreement afghanistan Africa African Union al-Azhar Algeria Aljazeera All Apartheid apostasy Arab League Arab nationalism Arab Spring Arabs in the West Armenia Arts and Cultures Arts and Entertainment Asia Assassinations Assimilation Azerbaijan Bangladesh Belarus Belt and Road Initiative Brazil BRI BRICS Brotherhood CAF Canada Capitalism Caroline Guenez Caspian Sea cCuba censorship Central Asia Chechnya Children Rights China CIA Civil society Civil War climate colonialism communism con·science Conflict Constitutionalism Contras Corruption Coups Covid19 Crimea Crimes against humanity Dearborn Debt Democracy Despotism Diplomacy discrimination Dissent Dmitry Medvedev Earthquakes Economics Economics and Finance Economy ECOWAS Education and Communication Egypt Elections energy Enlightenment environment equity Erdogan Europe Events Fatima FIFA FIFA World Cup FIFA World Cup Qatar 2020 Flour Massacre Food Football France freedom of speech G20 G7 Garden of Prosperity Gaza GCC GDP Genocide geopolitics Germany Global Security Global South Globalism globalization Greece Grozny Conference Hamas Health Hegemony Hezbollah hijab History and Civilizations Human Rights Huquq ICC Ideas IGOs Immigration Imperialism india Indonesia inequality inflation INSTC Instrumentalized Human Rights Intelligence Inter International Affairs International Law Iran IranDeal Iraq Iraq War ISIL Islam in America Islam in China Islam in Europe Islam in Russia Islam Today Islamic economics Islamic Jihad Islamic law Islamic Societies Islamism Islamophobia ISR MONTHLY ISR Weekly Bulletin ISR Weekly Review Bulletin Japan Jordan Journalism Kenya Khamenei Kilicdaroglu Kurdistan Latin America Law and Society Lebanon Libya Majoritarianism Malaysia Mali mass killings Mauritania Media Media Bias Media Review Middle East migration Military Affairs Morocco Multipolar World Muslim Ban Muslim Women and Leadership Muslims Muslims in Europe Muslims in West Muslims Today NAM Narratives Nationalism NATO Natural Disasters Nelson Mandela NGOs Nicaragua Nicaragua Cuba Niger Nigeria North America North Korea Nuclear Deal Nuclear Technology Nuclear War Nusra October 7 Oman OPEC+ Opinion Polls Organisation of Islamic Cooperation - OIC Oslo Accords Pakistan Palestine Peace Philippines Philosophy poerty Poland police brutality Politics and Government Population Transfer Populism Poverty Prison Systems Propaganda Prophet Muhammad prosperity Protests Proxy Wars Public Health Putin Qatar Quran Racism Raisi Ramadan Regime Change religion and conflict Religion and Culture Religion and Politics religion and society Resistance Rights Rohingya Genocide Russia Salafism Sanctions Saudi Arabia Science and Technology SCO Sectarianism security Senegal Shahed sharia Sharia-compliant financial products Shia Silk Road Singapore Soccer socialism Southwest Asia and North Africa Space War Sports Sports and Politics Sudan sunnism Supremacism SWANA Syria terrorism The Koreas Tourism Trade transportation Tunisia Turkey Turkiye U.S. Foreign Policy UAE uk ukraine UN UNGA United States UNSC Uprisings Urban warfare US Foreign Policy US Veto USA Uyghur Venezuela Volga Bulgaria wahhabism War War and Peace War Crimes Wealth and Power Wealth Building West Western Civilization Western Sahara WMDs Women women rights Work World and Communities Xi Yemen Zionism

Search for old news

Find Articles by year, month hierarchy



Copyright © Islamic Societies Review. All rights reserved.