Michael Ledeen answers this question by delving into the enormous problems facing the mullahs in Tehran. They include:
- Sinking oil prices that have put a crimp in their plans to fund terror groups around the world.
- Losing wars in Iraq and now Gaza, showing their proxies to be toothless and without the blessings of Allah.
- Signs of panic coming from the government, including the bounty of $1 million placed on the head of Egypts president Mubarak and raucous demonstrations at several western embassies.
- Assaulting the headquarters of Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi
- Student demonstrations on university campuses around the country.
- An inability to get the oil producing countries to significantly cut production.
Given all this, Ledeen draws some interesting conclusions:
I have long argued that the Iranian regime is fundamentally hollow, that much of its apparent strength is bluster and deception rather than real power and resolve. At a minimum, it is a regime that must constantly fear for its own survival, not because of any willful resolve from its external enemies but because of the simmering hatred from its own people. This is a moment when those people are, as so often in the recent past, looking for at least a few supportive actions. If the West is now convinced that Iran is the proximate cause and chief sponsor of Hamas’ assault against Israel, it should demonstrate once and for all that we are prepared to fight back.
There’s an attractive parlay: attack the terrorist training camps in Syria and Iran, and destroy the assembly lines that produce the deadly EFPs that have killed and maimed so many Americans, Iraqis and Afghans. It’s legitimate self-defense, it shows that we recognize the Iranian threat for what it is, and it will deliver an important message to the Iranian people.
It would be a monumental mistake for Obama to engage the Iranians now - just when they are at their weakest and any help we give them would only serve to bolster the regime at a time when a few good shoves might topple them.