War Game Scenario: Israel on the Day After

An Israeli think tank staged a war game scenario imagining the day after Iran successfully tested a nuclear weapon.

The Times of London (paywall, republished in The Australian) saw the results, and quite a few news services are picking up on the Times’s scoop.

The simulation exercise was conducted in Tel Aviv last week by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), a think-tank. Its conclusions suggest that a nuclear test would radically shift the whole power balance of the Middle East . . .

“The simulation showed that Iran will not forgo nuclear weapons, but will attempt to use them to reach an agreement with the major powers that will improve its position.”

“Improve its position” means boosted Iranian hegemony.

The specialists . . . believe that a nuclear test in January 2013 would be presaged by a series of provacative demands from Tehran. They include an Iranian call for its border with Iraq to be redrawn; calls for sovereignty over Bahrain and low-level actions against the vessels of the US Fifth Fleet in the Gulf.

Among the findings:

  • the Saudis opting developing their own nuclear program, eschewing US security guarantees.
  • Turkey ducking the conflict and threatening to withdraw from NATO if Israel becomes a member.

But most notably of all was the wildcard: an Israeli military response:

The specialists made clear that although Israel would come under pressure to abandon any military plans against Iran, it would keep this option on the table.

The Israeli military option is likely to be a significant lever, if not toward Iran, then toward some of the main players,” said the minutes of the war game seen by The Times. “The simulation showed that this option, or the threat of using it, would also be relevant following an Iranian nuclear test,” it added . . .

The scenario laid out by the INSS suggests that the possibility that Israel has to “live with it” might become a reality.

(Selection from image by Times of London/source INSS)