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In event of an Iran-Israel showdown, what would US military do?

Iran was top of the agenda Monday at the Obama-Netanyahu meeting. A recent war game gave US military officials a sense of the threat exposure from operating in a narrow waterway such as the Strait of Hormuz, off Iran's coast. 


A woman in northern Tehran on Monday walked past writing on a wall in Persian script that reads, 'Down with Israel.'

Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

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How would the US military respond if Iran attacked US interests – in retaliation for, say, an Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities? What would a US counterattack look like?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington Monday to meet with President Obama – which comes in the midst of increasingly vocal warnings from Pentagon officials urging caution on any military action in the region – has brought these questions into sharp focus this week.

These questions, too, were at the heart of one of the largest US military war-game exercises in a decade, meant to mirror the conditions that US troops would face if Iran were to, say, shut down shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

The war game, dubbed “Bold Alligator,” included some 16,000 US Navy seamen and Marines, as well as a a contingent of US allies from Europe and Australia, and took place near Norfolk, Va., last month. 

Yet Iran conducts its own war-game exercises, too, designed to practice how best to make US military operations in the region difficult, defense analysts note.


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