War simulation on Iran hints quagmire
WASHINGTON / JERUSALEM
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (L) drives the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in this file photo. A recent war simulation has raised fears among top American officials. AFP photoAn Israeli attack on Iran would likely lead to a wider regional war that could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead, according to the results of a classified U.S. war simulation.
The two-week war game, “Internal Look,” was not designed as a rehearsal for American military action, U.S. officials said, adding that the exercise’s results were not the only possible outcome of a real-world conflict. However, the game has raised fears among top American planners that it may be impossible to preclude American involvement in any escalating confrontation with Iran, the officials said, according to a New York Times report.
According to officials, the results of the war game were particularly troubling to Gen. James N. Mattis, who commands all American forces in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia. Mattis told aides that an Israeli first strike would likely have dire consequences across the region and for U.S. forces there. The simulation played out a narrative in which the U.S. found it was being pulled into the conflict after Iranian missiles struck a Navy warship in the Persian Gulf, killing about 200 Americans, according to officials with knowledge of the exercise.
Israel to purchase German-made submarine
Washington then retaliated by carrying out its own strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. The initial Israeli attack was assessed to have set back the Iranian nuclear program by roughly a year, while the subsequent American strikes did not slow the Iranian nuclear program by more than an additional two years.
The exercise was designed specifically to test internal military communications and coordination among battle staffs in the Pentagon, where the headquarters of the Central Command is located, and in the Persian Gulf in the aftermath of an Israeli strike. According to the daily, “Internal Look” war games take place twice a year and have long been one of the Central Command’s most significant planning exercises. Over the years, they have been used to prepare for various wars in the Middle East, including the invasion of Iraq in 2003.Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called on Israel March 19 to take into account the U.S. election campaign, hinting that it would be unwise to launch an attack on Iran without American support.
“Israel should increase its sensitivity, awareness and attentiveness to requirements based on the reality in the United States and adopt a policy that strengthens the special relationship between the two countries,” Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Barak as saying in the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Furthermore, Barak and his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, are scheduled to sign a deal in Berlin today to supply the Israeli Navy with a sixth German-made submarine.
The German government will pay for a third of the deal, amounting to $180 million. According to foreign reports, the submarines are equipped with cruise missiles which have a range of 1,500 kilometers and can carry nuclear warheads.