Monday, December 31, 2007

The Planned Killing of Benazir Bhutto

by Ramtanu Maitra

The gruesome killing of Benazir Bhutto in the evening hours of Dec. 27 in Pakistan's garrison town of Rawalpindi is yet another step in the process of weakening, and eventual break-up, of Pakistan.

Despite the crocodile tears shed in Washington and London over Bhutto's assassination, it was a disaster waiting to happen and therefore, was altogether expected. Those who believed, naively, that Bhutto's mission was to reinstate democracy in Pakistan and put its usurpers, the Pakistani military, in the background, do not realize why she was inserted into the scene, which was already rife with violence. The truth is that the British imperial circles, with their stooges in Washington, set up Bhutto's execution, to advance their scheme to break up Pakistan, and create chaos throughout this strategic region. (See Lyndon LaRouche's statement on British role.)

Bhutto, no doubt, was a mass-based political leader, but she was a woman (an excuse used by the puppet Islamic jihadists to commit violence against a person), and she was goaded into the scene by the United States—perhaps now the most hated nation among Muslims in general—to serve Washington's purpose, which was to put the Pakistani military on the defensive and force it to share power with a democratic politician. According to the master strategists in Washington, that is the best of both worlds—the Pakistani military stays friendly, while the United States shakes off its guilt of backing a military dictator.

It is not known what transpired in the telephone call between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Benazir Bhutto that led to Bhutto's decision to return. What promises were made will not be known unless Rice can shake off the national security garb and tell the truth. The one who knew, and could tell others, is gone.

The 9/11 event had enticed a weak-in-the-head Bush Administration to embark on a journey, the path of which was paved by the British colonialists. The vestiges of British colonial aspirations exist not only at Buckingham Palace, but even more so in the power of the intrigue and secrecy-ridden City of London.

Britain and the Muslims

The partition of India, and the formation of Pakistan, a Muslim nation, by the British Raj, was not done because the British liked Muslims. They had slaughtered them by the thousands in 1856, when the Hindus and Muslims joined hands under the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, to drive out the firenghee (white-skinned foreigners). Those who remember that untold part of the history of the Indian independence movement, talk of the piles of bodies lying in the streets of Delhi slaughtered by British soldiers. Most of them, like Benazir Bhutto and her colleagues who died on Dec. 27, were Muslims. The Muslims were "traitors" aspiring to reinstate the "despicable" and "corrupt" Mughal dynasty, London screamed.

The key to the British Empire's financial success was its ability to manipulate Islam. The British Empire-builders eliminated the Islamic Caliphate, created nations out of deserts, eliminated some nations, and partitioned others to create Islamic nations. Britain was aware that the oil fields of Arabia would be a source of great power in the post-World War II decades. The western part of British India bordered Muslim Central Asia, another major source of oil and gas, bordering Russia and Muslim Afghanistan. British India also bordered Islamic Iran and the Persian Gulf—the doorway to the oil fields of Arabia. In order to keep its future options open, Balochistan, bordering northeastern Iran, and the tribal Pushtun-dominated areas bordering Afghanistan, remained as British protectorates.

So, when the break-up of British India was planned by Churchill and others, Balochistan was not a problem. The problem was the Pushtun-dominated North West Frontier Province (NWFP), which was led by a pro-Congress Party leadership, and had voted in the last referendum before partition, to join Hindu-majority India.

What London wanted was that the large Hindu-dominated India must not have common borders with Russia, or Central Asia. That could make it too powerful and, worst of all, energy independent. Pakistan was created by the gamesmen in London because they wanted a weak Muslim state that would depend heavily on the mighty British military. The Cold War period held this arrangement in place, to the satisfaction of the British. The Kashmir dispute, triggered from London to cut off Indian access to Afghanistan, served the British policy-makers well.

But the post-Cold War days are different. China is rising in the north and seeking entry into the Persian Gulf and Central Asia through the western part of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. China has a long-term plan to build, and build, and build, infrastructure in this area, to bring resources into its vast but thinly populated western sector that extends from bordering areas of Kazakstan under the shadows of the Tien Shan mountains in the West, to the Shaanxi province deep inside China.

What is the connection of this history to the gruesome incident that happened in the darkening shadows of Liaquat Ali Bagh in Rawalpindi? It is important for the Pakistanis, as well for the other citizens of the Indian subcontinent, to know and assimilate.

Britain wants another partition of Pakistan. Whether Washington wants it, or not, it is playing second fiddle to this absurd policy. This time, a new nation is supposed to emerge—a weak and disoriented nation, born out of violence, just like the partition of British India. This nation will consist of Pushtun-dominated North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and Balochistan—all situated west of the Indus River and bordering he British-drawn disputed Durand Line that allegedly separates Afghanistan from Pakistan.

Why Bhutto?

The purpose of inserting Benazir Bhutto into the scene, after eight years of self-imposed exile, at a time when law and order had completely broken down, and even the Pakistani military was coming under serious attacks from the Islamic militants, was two-fold. The first objective, which Bhutto achieved in no time, was to put the Pakistani military on the defensive and generate demands in the street for the military to get back to barracks.

It is understood by the majority of Pakistanis, that despite the corruption that envelops the military, it is the only force in the nation that could, in the short term, maintain law and order, and fight the secessionists.

Once she put the Pakistani military on the defensive, Benazir did not become irrelevant. She became the designated qurbani (sacrifice). The killing of Benazir Bhutto has already unleashed domestic violence. In the midst of grieving Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) activists and workers, who feel betrayed and orphaned, will be the killers whose objective is to challenge the military and postpone the Jan. 8 elections. They would provoke the military to shoot at the people.

It is to be noted that the international Islamic radicals, who dip heavily into the British and other foreign intelligence sources, have infiltrated over the years into the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the lower echelons of Pakistan's military. That makes the task of keeping Pakistan together even more challenging.

The death of Bhutto was a step to breaking up Pakistan. She, however, wanted to unify the country. The Pakistani people must see to it that her death was not in vain.

The System Is Dead; Now What?

by John Hoefle Dec. 30, 2007
The year 2007 was one of remarkable changes in the global
financial system, the chief among them, it being the year
that the casino of unpayable debts and off-balance-sheet
fantasies finally broke down, leaving us to watch as the
ramifications of that collapse spread inexorably across
the planet. This was the year that financial terms of
which most people had never heard, such as ``SIVs,''
``CDOs,'' and ``monolines,'' became almost household
words, the year the so-called ``subprime crisis'' turned
into the so-called ``credit crunch,'' only to be revealed
at the end as a solvency crisis of the international
banking system itself. It was the year that the central
banks went from talking tough about asserting market
discipline and letting speculators take their losses, to
launching increasingly desperate schemes to keep the whole
system from grinding to a halt.
We now enter 2008 in uncharted territory. The
problems we saw in 2007 will only get worse, and there are
new horrors to be discovered as the death throes intesify.
The losses to the banks in 2007, likely to be on the order
of $100 billion, once the final reports are in, are just
the beginning. The entire economy, particularly in the
United States, has depended upon the accumulation of vast
amounts of debt, with households, businesses, governments,
and the financial markets all depending upon the ability
to borrow to finance their existence. The ability to
finance that debt depended in turn upon the ability of the
banks to turn loans into securities that could be sold to
speculators, moving the loans off the banks' balance
sheets into what is euphemistically called the investment
community. That securitization game is now over, and its
demise will wreak havoc with the ability of the economy to
finance itself with debt. The wave of losses we have seen
thus far is but a glimpse of what is to come, as the
collapse eats its way through the world's balance sheets
and flows relentlessly home to the balance sheets of the
commercial banks, the investment banks, the insurance
companies and other financial institutions, and to the
lives of people.
- Battle Royal -
While the death of the system plays out before us in
the financial press, the soap opera of falling dominoes
and dueling pundits is but a cover for a much more
profound battle: the battle over the nature of the system
which will rise from the ashes. There are those poor fools
who are trying to save the current system, to pretend that
what has happened did not, to save their illusions of
wealth; but they are irrelevant and will simply be swept
away by events beyond their understanding and control. The
real battle is between those who know the system is gone,
and want to decide the nature of its replacement.
On the one side are the forces around Lyndon LaRouche
and the American System of economics, who want to put the
financial system through bankruptcy, putting up firewalls
to protect the General Welfare of the citizenry, stopping
home foreclosures and freezing the mass of financial
claims until the wheat can be separated from the chaff.
The speculative claims and fictitious values can be
written off over time, while the elements necessary to
protect the proper functioning of the economy can be
protected, and the economy rebuilt. The essence of
LaRouche's approach is that the welfare of the population
comes first, and must be protected at all costs.
On the other side are the forces of the international
financial oligarchy, organized around the Anglo-Dutch
rentier-financier model. Their intent is to use the crisis
to destroy the power of the nation-states and to restore
the power of the empires, in a world dominated by imperial
financiers and their trading cartels. To this crowd,
people are but expendable peasants, little more than herds
of cattle to be managed, sometimes slaughtered. What
motivates the oligarchy is power, the ability to rule the
world for the benefit of a small ruling class. In their
view, the nation-states, in particular the historic United
States, usurped their power, and they intend to reclaim
it. They have, in fact, already made large steps in that
There are, to be sure, fights among these jackals
which are of interest to those of us who oppose them, but
what they have in common is more important than their
differences. To the prey, fights among the jackals over
who will eat first are of little consequence.
The point which must be clearly understood is that
this is a political fight rather than a financial one. The
financial system is already gone and cannot be
resurrected, and there are no serious attempts to do so.
The moves by the central banks and the regulators are not
intended to bring back the bubble, but rather to attempt
to control its disintegration and buy the time to
establish the replacement system. The money is already
- British Moves -
The center of this global imperial assault is the
City of London, which is openly plotting to become the
capital of the new order. To do this, it must eliminate or
at least severely weaken its rivals, beginning with the
United States and its financial center, Wall Street.
The British take the long view of things, and began
preparing for this collapse years ago. In 1986, the City
of London transformed itself, breaking up its inbred
financial system in what was called the ``Big Bang,'' as
London positioned itself to be the center of a new global
system based upon trading and speculation. Most of the
old-line British merchant banks were sold off to better
capitalized partners, with S.G. Warburg going to what is
now known as UBS; Kleinwort Benson going to Dresdner Bank;
Hambros to Societe Generale; and Schroders to
Citigroup, to name a few of the more prominent banks.
These banks did not leave the City but stayed to help
orchestrate a shift which brought foreign banks to London.
In this way, London became the financial center of the new
derivatives game, while the exposures, and ultimately the
losses, were centered in New York, Tokyo, Frankfurt, and
Zurich. The City positioned itself as the casino,
profitting from the gambling of others and, through its
network of offshore centers like the Cayman Islands, it lured
its rivals into the trap.
Now the trap is being sprung. The Brits are using
their propaganda assets like Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
to assault Wall Street. Murdoch's launching of the Fox
Business cable television channel and his purchase of the
{Wall Street Journal} provide the City with a platform to
undermine the credibility of U.S. institutions.
- It Began With Citigroup -
Illustrative is the crisis which hit Citigroup in
November. It began with a report issued by Canadian
Imperial Bank of Commerce analyst Meredith Whitney, who is
also a regular guest on Fox News. Whitney said that
Citigroup was in big trouble, in dire need of billions of
dollars of new capital, and should probably break itself
up into smaller pieces. The {Wall Street Journal} ran with
the report, which resulted (or perhaps provided cover for)
a sharp drop in Citigroup's stock. The crisis led to the
resignation of Citigroup chairman and CEO Chuck Prince
within days.
Citi was hit by yet another British blow when
HSBC--the infamous Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank of the
British East India Company's Dope, Inc.--announced that it
was taking $45 billion in SIV (structured investment
vehicle) assets onto its balance sheets, putting pressure
on Citigroup to do the same. Citigroup has thus far
survived, but in a weakened state, and its new chairman is
Sir Winifred Bischoff, a British knight who joined Citi
when it purchased Schroders.
The British also played a major role in blowing up
the subprime lenders. In March, Barclays forced New
Century mortgage, the big subprime lender, to buy back
mortgages, in effect, throwing New Century under the bus
and escalating the meltdown of the subprime lenders.
Barclays also played a role in the Bear Stearns hedge fund
fiasco which erupted in June, as a major creditor to the
bankrupt Bear funds.
The issue is not whether the problems
identified by the British were real--they are--but why the
British would choose to exacerbate them. In previous
financial crises, such problems would have been covered
up, the factions more interested in maintaining the
illusion of calm, but the nature of the battle has
changed. We are now in the endgame, where pushing as much
of the damage as possible onto your rivals has replaced
cooperation. The jackals are now fighting among
themselves, to see who will survive.
- Time To Move -
What is coming, is something none of us has ever seen
before. Were the British plans to prevail, the world would
descend into a fascist, Cheneyesque nightmare: Governments
stripped of what little remains of their abilities to
protect their populations from imperial looting, corporate
cartels gouging the public in ways that bring to mind what
Enron did to California, a veritable new dark age of
austerity, population reduction, and utter chaos--with the
City of London ruling over whatever pile of rubble is
The irony is that the nation-state is far superior to
the empire as a political structure, that the levers to
reverse this nightmare are within reach, should we choose
to grasp them. So, let us make 2008 the year America
reasserted itself, beginning with the passage of
LaRouche's Homeowners and Bank Protection Act. When you
consider the alternative, it is the only choice.

Bin Laden Killed Bhutto? How Blind Can We Be?

The shorthand being bandied about in the news that al-Qaeda is responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is so sloppy, so lacking in nuance or understanding of the dynamics of Pakistan, and so self-centered in its reference to America's enemy as to be almost laughable.

Several U.S. defense and intelligence experts are quoted today dismissing even the possibility that President Pervez Musharraf, Pakistani government forces, or other domestic elements could be involved, a conclusion that flies in the face of the country's history and ignores the obvious beneficiaries.

Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, commander of U.S. Central Command during the Clinton administration, told The Washington Post that there is "no doubt in my mind" that the murderers are linked to al-Qaeda. In an interview with Time magazine, he elaborated: "[T]hey're the only ones who gain from this.... I really think they're trying to ignite Pakistan into the kind of chaos they need to survive."

Former CIA official and National Security Council staffer Bruce Riedel, now at the Brookings Institution, is spouting the same theory, telling Newsweek that the assassination was "almost certainly the work of Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda's Pakistani allies...Their objective is to destabilize the Pakistani state, to break up the secular political parties, to break up the army so that Pakistan becomes a politically failing state in which the Islamists in time can come to power much as they have in other failing states."

To be sure, al-Qaeda has found sanctuary in Pakistan since its founding in 1988. Key al-Qaeda lieutenants such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Sept. 11 organizer, have operated from there. Before Sept. 11, Pakistan was a source of recruits and financing and technical support for al-Qaeda. And since Sept. 11, "al Qaeda" has been tied to various attempts to kill President Musharraf and to attacks on Pakistani Army and intelligence facilities - attacks that have increased in frequency and consequence since the central government sought to control the lawless border region. The thinking is that al-Qaeda has been trying to preserve its freedom of operations and to build relations with like-minded affiliates and Pakistani jihadis.

That said, al-Qaeda -- at least the movement led by and associated with Osama bin Laden -- is in terms of power and importance at the bottom of a long list of anti-democratic factions in Pakistan, including malcontents in the active and retired military, renegade intelligence and secret service elements, radical Islamic political parties, extremist Sunni movements, indigenous terrorist organizations and Afghan and Pakistani "Taliban" movements.

To say that "al-Qaeda" is responsible for Bhutto's assassination -- suggesting Osama bin Laden and an external force -- is to ignore all those political and religious factions inside the country that had the motives and resources to kill the former prime minister. Some of those factions in the government, the military or the intelligence services were likely privy to Bhutto's movements, and they could have actively schemed, if not played a direct role, in getting the suicide attacker to the right place at the right time.

Musharraf, of course, will say that he "warned" Bhutto of the dangers. Though, given that Bhutto's father, another former prime minister, was hanged by a military dictatorship and her two brothers were killed under suspicious circumstances, she no doubt already understood the landscape of domestic threats.

Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence officials are trying to verify the claim, via an Italian website, that al-Qaeda was behind the killing. Mustafa Abu al Yazid, al-Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan, allegedly told a reporter: "We have terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahedin." The website reported that the call to assassinate Bhutto came from al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman Zawahiri.

This claim of responsibility is highly suspect. And, if al-Qaeda were involved at all, it's less likely to have dictated decisions than to have been used by domestic factions pursuing their own power objectives. Those factions almost universally have an interest in labeling all lawlessness and terrorism "al Qaeda" activity.

Given Pakistan's history, it is unlikely that the true perpetrators will ever be brought to justice. For the United States though, the al-Qaeda bogey-man has the negative effect of affirming support for Musharraf and his martial law, while ignoring the various extremists who represent the true existential threat to the country. We should not let our al-Qaeda fixation blind us, just as the Soviet threat did in Iran in the 1970s, to the realities that Pakistan could implode of its own accord.

By William M. Arkin (WASHINGTONPOST.COM) | December 28, 2007; 8:15 AM ET Pakistan , War on Terrorism
Previous: Russia Lends a Hand | Next: False Messiah of Pakistan

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bhutto wanted ties with Israel, sought Mossad protection

Israel Today - Jerusalem,Israel, 12/28/07

Israeli media reports on Friday revealed that slain Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto intended to establish official relations with the Jewish state if elected and was seeking Mossad protection in the interim.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert grieved over Bhutto's assassination following an election rally on Thursday, and said that upon her return to Pakistan in October after years of exile Bhutto conveyed to him via a mutual acquaintance that she wanted close ties between Israel and Pakistan.

The Hebrew daily newspaper Ma'ariv further revealed that Bhutto had asked Israel's Mossad spy agency, along with the CIA and Britain's Scotland Yard, to help protect her in the run-up to Pakistan's January 8 election. Bhutto complained that current Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was trying to make her an easy target for assassination by not allowing her to use adequate protective measures.

According to the report, Israel's Foreign Ministry was in favor of aiding Bhutto, though the government ultimately decided against it for fear of angering the Musharraf regime and upsetting relations with neighboring India, a close ally of Israel engaged in an ongoing bitter confrontation with Pakistan.

Israeli leaders lamented that Bhutto, a popular former prime minister who was twice deposed by authoritarian elements, could have served as a bridge between Israel and the Muslim world.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Nation Of Lemmings?

By Judith Moriarty

It appears that many Americans are lemmings. Few have the privilege of not having to engage in dreary, tedious, mind-numbing work. Today, workers are doing the jobs of two or three employees (downsizing does that). They work their entire lives, get a a few weeks vacation, have five more years to pay that house off, then the Paper Mill (Maytag - Steel Plant) closes, and the house is foreclosed upon. For decades, they paid bundles of money only to have the banksters come in and clean up in the end. Then they wind up in a trailer, living in their car or tent...and then they die.

The lemmings in airports are held captive by ludicrous (supposed) safety regulations. If they object, there goes that vacation or business trip. Worse , they could end up DEAD by being shot with 50,000 volt taser guns (or die, terrified, in airport holding rooms in the hands of cops). Airport 'security' people are given all kinds of fancy pins, badges, and authority enabling them to utilize power they would never have in their dreary, lackluster lives. For a moment in time (work hours), they can boss around or cancel trips for those that they've always envied. Of course, all of this was never about SECURITY. It's about CONTROL...and a few corporate vultures making countless MILLIONS.

Meanwhile, we're supposed to believe that 19 Arabs directed by a sick man in a cave took a few flying lessons on crop dusters and became proficient multi-engine jetliner pilots and were then able to maneuver huge, computerized airliners across the country with NO interference? And that this was all accomplished with $1.98 box cutters (weapons) against the world's biggest mega-billion dollar defense department? We are supposed to believe that 47 story buildings just fall by themselves and 1,000 other absurdities. And because of this 'terrorist attack' we are now ALL suspected terrorists, captive in our own country, who must be examined, and strip-searched if desired, head-to-toe by the TSA in our airports.

Citizens, today, are treated as mindless idiots. Toothpaste, bunion cream, mouth wash, perfume, nail clippers, maple syrup etc - are the potential makings of a BOMBS. These ingredients might supposedly be secreted into the airplane bathroom - mixed - and then hidden in the heels of one's shoe. NO, it doesn't matter if you're wearing flip flops, sneakers, or socks. Everything must be bagged and held up for inspection by the cretins manning the 'security' barricades. This is the level of insanity the lemmings have been forced to comply with.

Even the elderly, in handicap carts, are not exempt from suspicion. This is the FREEDOM for whom multitudes through the ages have died for?

Billions upon billions spent on sophisticated defense (NORAD) weapons over the years is not enough. Today citizens are reminded to be on the ALERT. We are being molded into a snitch culture.

Meantime, six million+ shipping containers arrive at American ports yearly, and only 1-2% of them are ever searched. This does not include the thousands of trucks, now, thanks to NAFTA, rolling in over our southern 'border.' (What border?) Maybe it's me, or what's called common sense, but if I were about some mischief, the last place I'd go is to an airport.

Even the once laid-back Swiss are having a problem with increased crime due to Europe being overrun with illegal immigrants. This has resulted in a security crisis world wide. People don't like being dispossessed from the land of their birth, despite what the media and politicians proclaim. Meantime, American citizens are asked to supply ID in triplicate, and are being watched by thousands of cameras. If 19 terrorists could saunter into our country though airports, then what's to stop armies of terrorists from simply walking in over our porous borders?

Cameras are mounted on city streets to observe the comings and goings of U.S. citizens.

Security in today's America is targeted towards the housewife who dares to question the loss of FREEDOM. No, these men are not searching trucks, containers, or CORPORATE OR CIA JETS which are allowed to fly freely wherever they choose. Those who vote/profit by Big Brother's Security are exempt from living its humiliating intrusions. Only the lemmings need suffer embarrassment and humiliation.

People are hoping that the election of a new overseer will see things improved. Unfortunately, we've had just a bit of a problem with Diebold voting machines these past few years. To date, no security personnel have been assigned to keeping our elections honest...all of them are too occupied searching and watching for 'terrorists' at our airports. Even those with original copies of the Mayflower Compact, proving their heritage, are under suspicion.

Meantime, the government crows 'Our airports are being kept SAFE!'

...for the lemmings.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Expert: U.S. Attack on Iran Would Have Terrible Consequences

Jeff Burtn, NEWSMAX,
November 28, 2007

Iran may be militarily impotent but a U.S. first strike would throw the Middle East into chaos while leaving Iran’s nuclear program largely intact, an Israeli military expert tells Newsmax.

Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history and strategy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem says that, for all its bombastic rhetoric and saber rattling, there is little Iran can do to protect itself from an attack by the United States or to strike back in retaliation.

Iran has an underfunded defense budget, ill-equipped ground and air forces, and a limited number of unreliable Shihab III missiles that, while technically able to reach Israel, do not pose much of a threat, van Crevald says.

Still, any first strike by the U.S. would be ill-advised, van Crevald warns.

A U.S. air attack using cruise missiles and manned aircraft aimed at knocking out Iran’s large, entrenched nuclear program would succeed only in exacerbating conflict in the Middle East and put U.S. troops in Iraq at risk. “The scenarios are really terrible,” he says.

Iran’s leadership is in a panic, with the September bombing by Israel of a nuclear installation in Syria and implied threats by the U.S. of similar action in Iran. In response, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other officials are “lashing out in all directions,” van Creveld tells Newsmax.

“What makes me think they are in a panic was this commander of the Revolutionary Guard [Gen. Mahmoud Chaharbaghi] talking about 11,000 rockets that they would fire at a single moment,” he said. “Either he’s mad or he’s trying to bluff or he’s in a panic, because militarily, it makes no sense whatsoever.”

There is little substance behind the threats. Van Creveld estimated Iran’s defense budget at about $6.3 billion—just more than half of Israel’s and less than 2 percent of the United States’—hardly enough to fund a conventional force. However, that could be an indication that Iran is using its money to build its nuclear capability.

“My interpretation, and I’m not the only one who thinks this way, is that actually what has happened is that Iran has neglected its conventional defenses in favor of the nuclear program,” van Creveld says.

This is where it would become difficult for the United States, he adds. Unlike nuclear programs in Syria and Iraq, the Iranian facilities appear to be large, well concealed and well dispersed. The chances of the United States being able to knock out the entire program is remote.

“We are talking about a large program, and probably not all the components of the program are known,” van Creveld said. “Since you don’t know them, you cannot hit them.”

Still, if struck, there is little Iran could do to retaliate. Its air force is a sorry collection of old U.S.-made aircraft left over from the Iran-Iraq War, some Russian-made fighters and homebuilt Saeqeh jets modeled after the American F5 Tiger, an aircraft last updated in the 1960s and rejected by the U.S. Air Force, he says.

Iran could foment terrorist attacks against the U.S. and Israel, but, at best, they would be ad hoc events with little strategic impact, he adds.

“Coordinated terrorist attacks are very, very difficult to organize,” van Creveld tells Newsmax. “There may be an occasional act of terrorism … but it won’t make any difference. Tomorrow, if Iranians blew up the White House, would it make any difference in the United States’ ability to wage war against Iran? Not really.”

Militarily, the greatest risks would be to U.S. troops in Iraq, he said. Those soldiers are configured to fight an insurgency, and a conventional attack by Iranian forces could result in some U.S. troops being isolated and in danger.

“You can well imagine a scenario where they are surrounded, and where the U.S. would use tactical nuclear weapons to extricate them,” van Creveld says.

Iran also could start trouble — what the Iranian commander could have been referring to when he talked about the 11,000 missiles — among Persian Gulf states, which would cause the price of oil to skyrocket and have an immediate impact on the West, he says.

The question that needs to be answered by U.S. and Israeli officials is whether they need to be concerned about a nuclear Iran. Historically, every time a country—whether it was the Soviet Union, Israel, Pakistan, India or others—was to test a nuclear weapon, the United States warned of terrible consequences.

“Each time any country wants to go nuclear, the United States will invent some kind of reason why that country does not deserve nuclear weapons,” van Creveld says. “And each time it goes nuclear, nothing happens. It’s all rubbish.”

The argument that a nuclear Iran is more of a threat than those other countries makes no sense.

“In the whole of history, who was more crazy than Josef Stalin?” he asks. “In the whole of history, who was more crazy than Mao Tsetung? I don’t see that Ahmadinejad is more crazy than them. Maybe to the contrary. I listen to Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric, but I cannot think of even one case since 1980 and the Iranian Islamic Revolution that this country has behaved irrationally.”

In the end, what may be best for the U.S., Israel and the rest of the region is for negotiations with Iran, van Creveld said. The West should accept a nuclear Iran and draw the country into talks about setting up some kind of regional security program. Western powers also need to ensure that the Gulf states are protected, a move that he believes already is underway, possibly through a deal with the United States.

“The greatest threat coming from Iran is not to Israel,” he says. “Israel can take care of itself. The United States has nothing to fear from Iran. It is the Gulf states that have to fear.”