“Imagine a great metropolis covering hundreds of square miles. Once a vital component in a national economy, this sprawling urban environment is now a vast collection of blighted buildings, an immense petri dish of both ancient and new diseases, a territory where the rule of law has long been replaced by near anarchy in which the only security available is that which is attained through brute power. Such cities have been routinely imagined in apocalyptic movies and in certain science-fiction genres, where they are often portrayed as gigantic versions of T. S. Eliot’s Rat’s Alley. Yet this city would still be globally connected. It would possess at least a modicum of commercial linkages, and some of its inhabitants would have access to the world’s most modern communication and computing technologies. It would, in effect, be a feral city.”
Richard Norton of the Naval War College on feral cities, via Future Now. This was written last year; he mentions Iraq only with careful obliqueness in a footnote, but I would be somewhat surprised if the entire piece was not written with Iraq in mind. To follow along at home, apply his feral city taxonomy to Fallujah, Mosul, and Baghdad.