In the summer of 2016, I was honoured to be asked by former US national security advisor Stephen Hadley and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to help design a wargame, or a simulated crisis, to test whether more or less US engagement in the Middle East would be more beneficial for US interests and regional security.

The crisis revolved around a fictitious incident at sea between Saudi and Iranian naval forces. We postulated that several small attack craft belonging to the Iranians confronted a Saudi frigate in the Arabian Gulf southwest of the island of Abu Musa.

One Iranian boat sank, and one Saudi sailor went missing. Each side believed the other to be responsible for initiating the clash, and both placed their military forces on alert.

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