At Least Nine Nations to Participate in Simulation
Press reports circulating over the weekend indicate that NATO is about to hold a wargame simulation that will examine how the Alliance would – or could – respond to a Russian chemical attack. Previous such exercises have focused on nuclear exchanges, but this is believed to be the first time since the end of the Cold War that a state-on-state chemical warfare scenario has been postulated with Russia as the potential aggressor.
MONCh understands that motivation for holding such a wargame is said by observers to lie in recognition that the century-old ban on the use of chemical weapons has, in reality, been breached by events in Syria, an impression reinforced by use of the VX nerve agent against Kim Jong-un’s half-brother in North Korea and Novichok – eight times more toxic – against Russian nationals in Salisbury. Indeed, comments surrounding the discussions at the weekend indicate that there is a school of thought in NATO planning circles that chemical weapons have overtaken nuclear as Russia’s preferred first-strike option.
The simulation is most likely to take place at the Warrington Training Centre in Virginia in October, according to observers, and has been code-named Area Star. Representatives from at least seven NATO nations plus Australia and Japan are expected to participate.