The year is 2039. The ten-year nuclear agreement of 2016 had ended. The Iranians fully implemented their responsibilities for little more than the first four years--just until all the US and EU sanctions were lifted. Billions of dollars were restored to the rogue government without a care about how they were spent. Russia, as expected, jumped in as their biggest supporter right from the beginning.
Iran's tentacles in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and elsewhere in Africa and Asia enjoyed increased support and renewed bravado. Efforts to penetrate Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf nations were rebuffed by a strong secular Sunni Arab coalition--along with the new principal buyer of Gulf oil. Egypt and the North African Islamic nations were adopted, protected from ISIS, and commercially exploited by Russia.
With the sanctions and embargos lifted, Iran continued its underground nuclear weapon development. They imported and then reverse-engineered more capable missiles from Russian designs. On schedule, they imported small conventional arms from many places, particularly France, for their surrogates. They also bought electronic warfare instruments of every sort wherever they could for their own use. When the agreement officially expired, they intended to play on the world stage with their military might, at the time and place of their choosing. Israel was not necessarily their highest priority.
The United States, upon reaching total energy independence, shut down all exporting of unrefined energy, shale oil, natural gas, LNG, and even coal. The administrations of the United States decided they needed to hoard this nation's reserves in order to have the cheapest energy in the world for the longest time--centuries, in fact--to offset the country's other cost disadvantages in the world markets.
Because of the US action, the price of oil bifurcated. The world price of carbon-based energy was $200 per barrel of oil equivalent. The price within the US was less than half of that. Canada and Mexico had become wealthy nations, being able to get the world price for their energy on any continent but their own. Their trade surpluses were enormous, their national debt was repaid, and their nations and people prospered.
No longer needing Saudi oil, the US withdrew from the Middle East, leaving Israel and its former Arab allies to fend for themselves. But for Israel, finding a new protector turned out not too difficult, not difficult at all.
The US had begun charging protection-dependent nations the total cost plus a profit for the military defense they provided such nations. Their military became the major foreign income earner, bringing the US balance of payments soundly into the black. The US became the largest, best trained and equipped mercenary military in the world. Think of South Korea, Japan, and NATO. Because the EU wouldn't ante up, the US withdrew from NATO. What remained became EATO (European Atlantic Treaty Organization) plus Canada, and they were forced to take more responsibility for themselves.
Israel had always been faced with an existential threat from Iran, and the threat only grew as the 2016 agreement matured. The moat they had built around themselves could not defend against a blitz attack from a thousand missiles hurled at them at once, from Gaza to the east, Lebanon to the north, and Iraq and Iran to the west. Iron Dome was vastly improved and expanded. Laser and Electromagnetic Pulse defenders were developed and deployed. Israel submarines were on station to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack at Iran, but that would be only after the fact, and if the Israeli nation were wiped out, it would only serve to be a symbolic retaliation. But that was only Plan B.
Plan A was to attack and wipe out Iran's nuclear capability, which they in did 2027, with help from others! Embarrassed that Israel could put together such a successful mission without them, the United States withdrew their ambassador from Tel Aviv and expelled the Israeli ambassador from Washington.
With the regional threat from Iran neutralized, a State of Palestine was created and recognized alongside Israel. Hamas was disbanded. The land of Gaza was turned over to Israel, and the Gazans were moved to a newly created and built City-State elsewhere on the Mediterranean.
Find the full story and mission details in 2039, 2nd Edition, at Amazon.
Edited by Rachel Starr Thomson