Top Gun: Maverick (2022) — may have spoilers! No spoilers in OP

Afghanistan and Libya were both NATO actions.

That may be. I prefer to think the country was Freedonia or maybe Grand Fenwick.

It can’t be Iran simply because the topography doesn’t match. Also don’t say F-14s prove it’s Iran because the F-14s are the later F-14 models with the different engines and not the actual original Iranian ones.

I’m leaning strongly into Stranger’s “alternate Earth” theory above (way above!) In the Top Gun universe the school is still at Miramar, there is a country in the Mideast that has that topography, we sold all sorts of stuff to them over the years, including newer F-14s, CINCPAC is in San Diego instead of Pearl Harbor, etc. And they truly hate Maverick, because he made ace against their air force.