Marc Lynch notes a series of articles suggesting the US is considering taking military action against Iran. The case against force:
While I've been critical of parts of the administration's approach to Iran, overall Tehran has become considerably weaker in the Middle East under Obama's watch. Much of the air has gone out of Iran's claim to head a broad "resistance" camp, with Obama's Cairo outreach temporarily shifting the regional debate and then with Turkey emerging as a much more attractive leader of that trend. The botched Iranian election badly harmed Tehran's image among those Arabs who prioritize democratic reforms, and has produced a flood of highly critical scrutiny of Iran across the Arab media.
Arab leaders continue to be suspicious and hostile towards Iran. The steady U.S. moves to draw down in Iraq have reduced the salience of that long-bleeding wound. Hezbollah has been ground down by the contentious quicksand of Lebanese politics, and while still strong has lost some of the broad appeal it captured after the 2006 war. Public opinion surveys and Arab media commentary alike now reveal little sympathy for the Iranian regime, compared to previous years. And while the sanctions are unlikely to change Iran's behavior (even if there is intriguing evidence that highly targeted sanctions are fueling intra-regime infighting), they do signal significant Iranian failures to game the UN process or to generate international support. In short, while Iran may continue to doggedly pursue its nuclear program (as far as we know), this has not translated into steadily increasing popular appeal or regional power. Quite the contrary.
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