US, UAE Ignore Coronavirus Risk, Hold Anti-Iran War Games

Troops invade an imaginary Iranian city in drill

The spread of coronavirus has delayed a lot of wargames, but the US and United Arab Emirates both want to send a message to Iran, and that message comes in the form of 4,000 US troops and combined Emirati fighters conducting the biennial Native Fury exercise.

The exercise took place primarily at al-Hamra base, where a fictional Iranian city was constructed, mosques and all, for the troops to pretend to invade and conquer. Troops rampaged through the narrow streets looking for “enemy fighters.”

US troops took part in the UAE and Kuwait, along with Diego Garcia. The US Ambassador Rakolta described the exercise as “defensive in nature” despite it being an overtly practiced invasion and occupation of a model Iranian city.

Rakolta added he doesn’t think it is “provocative” to tell the Iranians “we’re coming.” It’s hard to imagine Iran, or anyone else thusly targeted by a large wargame, not seeing it that way.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.