Speculation regarding a possible Israeli air campaign against Iran's nuclear facilities has been rife for years – a pair of MIT students wrote an analysis on the subject back in 2007, and countless articles have appeared before then and since. Now, however, it's possible to do more than simply talk about such a battle: should you wish to, you can set aside the Monopoly or the chess set in favour of a rousing boardgame pitting one player as Iran against another as Israel, with preservation or destruction of Tehran's nuclear capability as the prize.
The game is called – perhaps inevitably – Persian Incursion, and is the brainchild of technothriller writer Larry Bond, formerly well known as a designer of tactical combat games (Bond has collaborated with Tom Clancy, and it's said that his games were used extensively in development of such seminal Cold War works as The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising).
As one would expect, Persian Incursion is far more than a simple military tactics game. Before Israel can even get aircraft into the sky above Iran, it needs to overfly third nations, and getting permission – or tacit permission – for this (or for the Iranian player, persuading the intervening nations to deny such permission) is a major objective. International opinion is also a big factor, as the option of a single lightning raid is, according to Bond, no longer on the table: Israel does not possess enough jets to take out Iran's extensive nuclear infrastructure in one wave, and would need to carry out a week-long air campaign.
The game is very topical as the subject of possible bombing raids from Israel is back under discussion again, having moved down the agenda in recent years after the mysterious Stuxnet worm was widely believed to have caused a massive setback to Iran's quest for nuclear weapons. However it would now seem that the Iranians have recovered from the damage inflicted by the unidentified cyber-warriors behind Stuxnet, and once again some in Israel are agitating for real-world action before Iran becomes too dangerous to hit.
On Tuesday (8 November) the UN's International Atomic Energy Authority issued a report into the Iranian nuclear industry which suggested that Tehran continues to work towards building nuclear weapons, confirming the suspicions of most observers.
There's a very comprehensive review of Persian Incursion here on Foreign Policy. ®
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