It’s just a matter of time.
The mullahs are finished. There will be regime change in Iran.
Iran’s corrupt regime knows it cannot survive the economic blockade put in place by the Trump White House. What a case of whiplash they must be experiencing! Iran’s mullahs thought they were well on their way to acquiring a nuclear capability which would achieve their long-held dream of ruling the Middle East, and the hoped-for destruction of Israel.
They could not believe their good luck with the enabling appeasement of the Obama administration, which bent over backwards to give them everything they wanted — and more. They should have known it would be too good to last, and that there was no popular support in the U.S. for President Obama’s diplomatic approach.
So what’s a corrupt ayatollah to do when faced with extinction by a greater power? Start a war, of course — which is exactly what Tehran is trying to do.
The tanker attacks and now the downing of an American drone are a direct challenge to President Trump’s leadership and to his promise to make America great again. Iran’s leaders know Mr. Trump — unlike his predecessor — won’t allow U.S. sailors to be humiliated for all the world to see.
So will we have war?
The Trump administration’s strategy has been to strangle the regime by cutting off its oil lifeline, the main source of revenue. Follow-on sanctions have targeted industries such as petrochemicals, which are owned by the hard-line Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC.
The regime survives only on corruption. State control of the nation’s key assets by the corrupt leadership is total.
And the Iranian people are suffering. Half of the country doesn’t have fresh water. Diversion of the water supply by the IRGC to support pet projects routinely causes massive floods, killing hundreds of people.
The currency has collapsed. The billions of dollars returned from the United States via the 2015 Iran nuclear deal were long ago squandered on proxy armies in the Levant and Iraq.
The Iranian people know this. They see young people being tortured and executed by the thousands for demonstrating against the criminal leadership in Tehran. They see the suffering. They see the corruption.
Mr. Trump is well aware of Iran’s tactics and its eagerness for conflict. He will be unpredictable. He will be effective. He will not give Iran the ground war it wants. He will possibly give them the war they can’t imagine.
I believe there could be strikes against Iran’s nuclear assets. A target of opportunity has presented itself via Iran’s belligerence — a chance to solve the regime’s nuclear threat once and for all. However, there will not be a U.S. invasion of Iran. There will not be thousands of American deaths. There will not be another $1 trillion spent by U.S. taxpayers to fix the Middle East.
Mr. Trump is smarter than that, and much too smart for the regime that is trying to goad him.
In the end, it will be the Iranian people who will bring down this murderous cabal that has long terrified and repressed the proud Persian people. The Iranian resistance is organized, effective and lying in wait, ready to form a new democratic government.
When — not if — that happens, the Middle East will be transformed. With the Iranian regime gone, the problems the U.S. faces with Iraq could be solved. The Lebanese stalemate could be broken. The Syrian deadlock would be broken, and control over Gaza by Iran-backed Hamas would be weakened.
Iran is the linchpin holding an entire region in a state of terror and paralysis. Mr. Trump knows this. Time is on his side and he can let the regime collapse of its own weight, while protecting vital U.S. interests in the region and undermining Iran’s drive to get the bomb.
Yes, the regime’s time is short, and the mullahs know it. It’s all over but the shouting.
• L. Todd Wood is a former special operations helicopter pilot and Wall Street debt trader, and has contributed to Fox Business, The Moscow Times, National Review, The New York Post and many other publications. He can be reached at LToddWood.com.