The articles in this issue of Middle East Report illuminate some of the sources of displacement, dispossession and loss found throughout urban areas in the contemporary Middle East. In our age of “planetary urbanization,” many cities have become battlegrounds where insurgents seek asymmetrical advantage against opponents who increasingly target cities as if civilians no longer exist. At the same time, global deregulation has given rise to what sociologist Saskia Sassen terms “predatory formations” of investors, states and economic elites that target cities for speculative profit and nepotistic rewards, emptying them of their poor or rebellious inhabitants. Both developments are addressed in the following articles.
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