In our previous post, the Posse speculated that Iran may be attempting to draw an American or Israeli air strike precisely because they wish a military confrontation sooner rather than later - and they know that nuclear weapons are out of their reach.
The more we think this over, the more sense it makes. Consider the situation: Iran's oil stocks are not inexhaustable, and in fact may be running out. Without the oil money, Iran has nothing. Years of war and mismanagement has left it worse off than in 1979. What limited resources exist have been wasted through corruption.
Iran's economy is faltering and internal unrest is the dominant fear of the eroding regime.
Adding further to this strain is the expense of maintaining two parallel military structures: the regular establishment and the Revolutionary Guards, who are loyal only to the mullahs. In effect, Iran has to support an army to watch the army and an air force to watch the air force. While Iran boasts some F-14 Tomcats, these are hideously difficult and expensive to maintain.
Given these limits, it is difficult to see how Iran could develop, build, maintain and deploy a credible nuclear force. A far easier option is to simply threaten to do so - by breaking IAEA seals, engaging in inflammatory talk and generally prodding the West to further concessions.
This also explains why Iran's regime is suddenly on the warpath, even accusing Great Britain of provocation and support for Iranian dissidents.
It is as if the Iranian regime is desperately seeking a causus belli that will resonate within the Islamic world.
This notion - that Iran has no intention of building the Bomb - flies in the face of all evidence, but so did Iraq's strange lack of WMD despite extensive efforts at concealment. Yes, we believe some of the WMD may have been moved or destroyed, but Iran's mullahs may also have figured out that the world isn't willing to call their bluff. Breaking IAEA seals in full view of inspectors makes the bluff suddenly all too real. There is nothing to be gained from wasting money on real production when going through the motions achieves the same effect.
The Posse does not mean to imply that Iran's drive to war is trivial or to be underestimated, merely that the nuclear threat is an illusion, a distraction to allow Iran to wage a concerted terrorist campaign against a clearly weakening West. Iran must do this before its economy collapses.
Unlike the Soviets, Iran's rulers believe in an afterlife - one that won't be kind if they allow their noble project to go out without some sort of fight. So they are determined to lead the final Islamic Jihad before democracy takes root in Iraq and the people of Iran toss them out.
The nuclear standoff is the MacGuffin, the distraction from the real story: that Iran's leaders want war now, while they can still fight.
UPDATE: Welcome Roger L. Simon readers! The next post addresses some of the responses we've gotten.