Blowback on US if Israel attacks Iran: War simulation | world | Hindustan Times
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Blowback on US if Israel attacks Iran: War simulation

A classified war simulation held this month to assess the repercussions of an Israeli attack on Iran forecasts that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the US and leave hundreds of Americans dead, according to American officials.

world Updated: Mar 20, 2012 23:18 IST

A classified war simulation held this month to assess the repercussions of an Israeli attack on Iran forecasts that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the US and leave hundreds of Americans dead, according to American officials.

The officials said the so-called war game was not designed as a rehearsal for American military action — and they emphasised that the exercise’s results were not the only possible outcome of a real-world conflict.

But 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. In the debate among policy makers over the consequences of any Israeli attack, that reaction may give stronger voice to those in the White House, Pentagon and intelligence community who have warned that a strike could prove perilous for the US.

The results of the war game were particularly troubling to Gen James Mattis, who commands all American forces in the Middle East, Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia, according to officials who either participated in the Central Command exercise or who were briefed on the results.

The two-week war game, called Internal Look, played out a narrative in which the US found it was pulled into the conflict after Iranian missiles struck a navy warship in the Persian Gulf, killing about 200 Americans. The US retaliated by carrying out its own strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

The exercise was designed specifically to test internal military communications and coordination among battle staffs in the Pentagon, Tampa, Fla., where the headquarters of the Central Command is located, and in the Persian Gulf in the aftermath of an Israeli strike. But the exercise was written to assess a potential, real-world situation.