Grundare och ordförande av Game Makers Malmö.
I got to play Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, King of Jordan and when I read the provided briefing I decided to go big or go home. My long term plan was to try to unite the Arabs and go for a one-state solution. I planned to aggressively use my military advantage over my peers and positive relationship with the British Mandate into some form of state where I could maneuver myself into power. With the Arab states and the British mandate on my side the Jewish Agency wouldn’t have any choice but to fall in line.
My first action as King was to give my military commander Glubb Pasha orders to expand and improve the army (primarily by begging arms from the Brits) and start planning for a possible military campaign against Palestine. I then sat down with the Arab League to find out their plans. The Mufti of Jerusalem (my arch enemy) and King Ibn Saud (also my arch enemy) didn’t attend the meeting and I could propose my first Deal to Secretary General Azzam Pasha, King Farouk of Egypt and President Shukri al-Quwatli of Syria (the British Cheif of Staff and the US Minister was observing the meeting). I tried to play up the negative aspects of foreign influences on the Arab world and convince the them that the only way to rule ourselves was to show the superpowers a, in their eyes, acceptably civilized nation, and in that way get our freedom. My great Deal would be the Federal Union of Greater Syria, or Union of Arab Nations as it would later be renamed. It would be an extension of the League where each nation would send representatives to a common parliament that would have some degree of internal power and also direct foreign policy, federal trade policy and so on. Everyone was predictably suspicious and there were a lot of ifs and buts, and the Mufti and King Saud would also have to be in on it. We adjourned the meeting so I could present the idea to the Jewish side, not really necessary in my opinion, but it was very important to the British representative.
After this initial round of negotiations I started pulling everyone together. In private meetings I agreed to everything everyone wanted, just to get them to sit down and talk. I even made a temporary peace with Ibn Saud (and got a vague promise from the League that any border incidents involving his tribesmen would be a casus belli and I would have support for my claims on Hejaz, setting me up to annex the whole Arabian peninsula, and get revenge on the Saudis when the time came). When we got everyone to sit down at last, the Jews wouldn’t agree to anything without a sign of trust, they basically wanted the Mufti’s extremists to quit killing Jews. After that the British Chief of Staff pulled the Arab League in to a meeting (I’m quite sure he went outside his authority here) to tell us to play nice or else. I wanted to make an impression on my peers and, since I was confident that he didn’t have London behind him on this, I stood up to him and told him to back off and handle the Jewish Question, and let us handle our own problems. This led to me pushing my luck a bit and next I went to the Mufti and basically told him that he had a choice; either stop the terrorists or Jerusalem would turn into the next Berlin. He would be the next Hitler, as in ”dead in a ditch, with Soviets and Americans taking turn raping his people”. That seemed to get the job done (I really enjoyed that one, it’s not often you can tell someone off like that. I believe the player who played the Mufti was a bit shell shocked too).
This led to the mid part of the game where the Mufti kept playing nice, the Arab League tried to get the basic structure on our future nation on paper and everyone fighting over how to solve the refugee question. I agreed to any and all proposals in that case since I knew there wouldn’t be any refugees in Transjordan in any case.
My commander had gotten the first priorities dealt with. The Saudi threat was put on hold, the army was reorganizing and he had gotten hold of some tanks to be able to set up a mechanized brigade. Under the guise of military exercises we had a force along the Jordan preparing to seize Jerusalem. I very clearly gave no orders to plan and prepare to arrest or kill the Mufti at a moments notice, and the always faithful Glubb Pasha performed his task as expected. In this short meeting we also drew up the preliminary plans for Plan ד (Dalet), a worst case plan to be implemented if the League members broke off negotiations. The plan would involve an simultaneous offensive by the Arab Legion, securing eastern Palestine, including Jerusalem, the Haganah, occupying northern Palestine and the port cities, and the British forces holding down the rest of Palestine, until a partition could be worked out between us, without interference. The plan was met with reservation by the other parties when it was presented, but it wasn’t rejected outright, and that was enough for me. I felt confident that standing before a fait accompli they would seize the opportunity to end the conflict (I also put out some feelers towards Egypt and Syria to keep them sidelined).
During this middle period the Irgun terrorists kept up a constant stream of headlines, infuriating everyone and marginalizing the Jewish side. Suddenly they had lost all their support, their military was crippled and the British Army was rattling their sabres. This coincided with the refugee question finally being solved, and the first draft of the Deal, a declaration of intent to participate in a constitutional congress was finally signed by all members of the League with support from the British and USA.
In the Deal the members of the League foolishly agreed to make Glubb Pasha the Supreme High Commander of the new nation, and to integrate all our armies under his command, starting with a mixed cadre unit with soldiers from all armed forces (including the Haganah).
This progress made me hold off on arresting the Mufti, a decision that I would regret later.
At the moment we sat down to force the Jews to sign the declaration of intent (that at that time didn’t contain any provisions for any Jewish independent rule in any form) I had the action card to mobilize the army and the orders to execute Plan ד ready in my pocket. The moderate faction of the Jewish Agency, represented by Chain Weizmann was quickly convinced but David Ben Gurion, by now strongly suspected of working with the Irgun, kept refusing and trying to press his agenda. We argued back and forth a while and just as I called Glubb Pasha over to issue the orders, Ben Gurion relented and signed the papers.
I was so relieved. The game was almost at the end and I had played one of the most intense parts in any game I’ve ever played for 5 hours without pause. I kind of let go then. I maybe could have forced through a reasonable proposal from the league. In the end the Mufti sabotaged it, no one could agree and dream of the Federal Union of Greater Syria died.
I would say that my strategy of trying to be as agreeable as possible to everyone, while at the same time keeping the military option open could have succeed if I could have kept it up a while longer. Speak softly and carry a big stick, I think the saying goes.
I won’t go into the historical aspects of the game except to say that it was exceptionally well researched and realized.
The players had very different levels of experience, but everyone performed admirably!
I would very much like to thank the two players that became my primary opponents, the Mufti and David Ben Gurion. I would also like to thank my team mate Glubb Pasha for all his support. I would probably have been more successful if I had taken the time to listen to his advice more.
If there’s anything negative to say it’s that the game was a bit too intense, to the point of totally exhausting me. I realize this is because of the lower player count, but if it happens again the Arab side could use a few more players in support roles. I wouldn’t be against playing a bit longer and spread it out over two days.
I’ve probably missed or forgotten a bunch of things, but this is it for me. Thank you, and I’ll be back again next time there’s an historical crisis to be worked out!