"War Games Show How Attacking Iran Could Backfire
WASHINGTON — Here's a war game involving Iran, Israel and the U.S. that shows how unintended consequences can spin out of control:
With diplomacy failing and precious intelligence just received about two new secret Iranian nuclear facilities, Israel launches a pre-emptive strike against Tehran's nuclear complex. The strike is successful, wiping out six of Iran's key sites and setting back its suspected quest for a bomb by years.
But what happens next isn't pretty.
The U.S. president and his National Security Council try to keep the crisis from escalating. That sours U.S.-Israeli relations, already stressed by the fact that Israel didn't inform Washington in advance of the strike. The White House tries to open a channel for talks with Iran, but is rejected.
Instead, Iran attacks Israel, both directly and through its proxies in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. It misinterprets U.S. actions as weakness and mines the Straits of Hormuz, the world's chief oil artery. That sparks a clash and a massive U.S. military reinforcement in the Persian Gulf.
This recent war game conducted at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, part of the Washington-based Brookings Institution, a center-left think tank, appears to dampen hopes for a simple solution to Iran's real-world nuclear challenge....
By the end of the simulation, eight days after the fictitious Israeli strike, Israel's prime minister, under heavy domestic pressure, is forced to launch a 48-hour air blitz in southern Lebanon to halt rocket attacks from Hezbollah, the militant group sponsored by Iran. Israeli officials know the blitz is unlikely to achieve its objectives, and prepare a larger, costlier operation in Lebanon, including ground forces.
Israel's relations with the United States, its most important ally, are damaged. To avoid damaging them further, Israel bows to intense U.S. pressure and absorbs occasional missile strikes from Iran without retaliating.
Some members of the "Israeli" team nonetheless felt that setting back Iran's nuclear program "was worth it, even given what was a pretty robust response," said one participant....
Jonathan Peled, an Israeli embassy spokesman, declined comment on the war game or its outcome.
"All we can say is that Iran constitutes a threat not only to Israel but to the region, to the US and to the world at large, and therefore should be addressed without delay by the international community, first and foremost through effective sanctions," he said.
The Brookings war game was one of three simulations regarding Iran's nuclear program conducted in December. The other two, at Harvard University and Tel Aviv University, reportedly found that neither sanctions nor threats dissuaded Tehran from its suspected nuclear weapons ambitions....
Iran did not retaliate directly against the United States or U.S. troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. But it struck back at Israel, then attacked Dharan in eastern Saudi Arabia, then began mining the Straits of Hormuz.
"There would be almost no incentive for Iran not to respond" with force, said another participant, a member of the Iranian team. "It was interesting to see how useful it was for Tehran to push the limits."
Without knowing it, Iran's last two actions crossed U.S. "red lines," prompting an American military response.
"No one came out on top — (but) arguably the Iranians," the Iran team member said.--MORE--"
Yeah, and wait until CHINA and RUSSIA get involved!
Bye-bye, USraeli Empire!
Also watch: US will start WW3 by attacking Iran
I'll see you in hell, you insane SOBs.