An Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites may quickly spiral out of control and result in a large regional war, a Pentagon war game predicts. American casualties would be counted in hundreds at least.
The two-week game held by Central Command called Internal Look played on a scenario in which Israel carried out an air strike on Iranian facilities. Retaliation for this act targets both the Jewish state and the American forces in the region since, they presume, Iranians would hold them complicit in the attack.
Results of the game are classified, but according to leaked details Iran managed to down at least one American warship in the Persian Gulf, killing 200 crew members on board, reports The New York Times. Separate strikes by Israel and the US managed to delay Iran’s nuclear program by just three years.
The simulated conflict escalated into a wider regional war, showing that a possible attack on Iran would likely have unforeseeable and uncontrollable consequences. The result raises concern among those US military and civilian officials who are skeptical over Israel’s capability to deal a serious blow on Iran’s nuclear facilities through use of force.
US officials stressed that the exercise was not a rehearsal for American military action. It was rather aimed at testing internal communication and coordination between the Pentagon and the various staff in the Gulf region in response to possible real-life developments. The simulation also took just one scenario, and results of a real conflict may differ, the military said.
The exercise has been held since the Cold War era, when US troops played on scenarios of a Soviet offensive in Middle East. In December 2002, Internal Look was used to test America’s readiness to the coming invasion of Iraq.