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Claudia Læssøe Pedersen

Predictions indicate, that in 2050 about 75 % of the world’s population will be living in cities. The growth of cities, and not least megacities, in both number and area, strongly imply that the urban environment will be a future battlefield and that Danish armed forces will be part of military operations in such a complex scene with its density of noncombatants and manmade constructions. Fighting in cities is nothing new, and neither is the reluctance toward doing so. But when urban warfare has been unavoidable, different strategies have been applied throughout history such as sieges, total destruction, WWII bombings of entire cities, and house to house combat with complete disregard of civilian casualties. Gradually, however, humanitarian sentiment, human rights codification, international law, and media attention have rendered these strategies non-viable for Western democracies. It is still not always up to the Western powers to decide to avoid wars in cities. Insurgents have discovered the advantage of withdrawing to cities, in order to mitigate the Western powers’ conventional forces' technological supremacy.

The aim of the project is to analyze the particular conditions and challenges of urban warfare on the political- strategic/operational level. To conduct this, the extensive experience of the Israeli-Arab conflicts from 1982-2014 will be analyzed, and in particular issues concerning the civilian population and the laws of armed conflict in the urban environment.