Yossi Melman at PostGlobal

Yossi Melman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Yossi Melman is a senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues. An author of seven books on these topics, his most recent book, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran was published recently by Carroll & Graf. Close.

Yossi Melman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Yossi Melman is a senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues. An author of seven books on these topics, his most recent book, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran was published recently by Carroll & Graf. more »

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Bhutto Conspiracy Theories Will Thrive

The most astounding aspect of the assassination is her security detail’s negligence. Theories will abound as to why.

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All Comments (35)

FedUp1:

If that's the best Melman can do, I'm not impressed. He stated:

"Others will point the finger at Musharraf and his supporters, who viewed Bhutto as a rival who was might have won next month's elections.

"The likelihood of both claims is extremely low, especially considering the apparent deal in principle struck between Musharraf and Bhutto whereby both would enter a power-sharing arrangement and form a joint coalition."

I find it amazing that someone with his capabilities and experience shoud not entertain the possibility that Musharraf and the military did NOT want to share power with Bhutto. Pushed to do so by the USA, assassination was the most effective way of preventing power-sharing.

Moreover, the different versions of the assassination given by the Musharraf regime, make it very suspect: 1) Bhutto was killed by bump; 2) Bhutto was killed by al Qaeda. In addition, though it has been said that Bhutto's husband refused permission for the autopsy, some credible sources claim it was the chief of the Rawalpindi police.

Why so many different stories if not to cover up guilt?

I have been examining many sources and have reached the tentative conclusion that the assassination of Bhutto was only part of a larger plot which has included other assassinations and violence. I point my finger at Musharraf because the only beneficiaries of rampant instability in Pakistan would be Musharraff and his military.

osmor:

Here's a paradox to ponder over.

While a female leader has been struck down, it seems to me that she came to power before the Islamic fundies were fully entrenched and able to dictate policy.

The paradox is why is it that all the aftermath images coming out of Pakistan show only men? Even at her gravesite, only her brother and father are present in the WashingtonPost.com picture strewing flowers on the grave. Where are her daughters? Indeed, where all the Pakistani women during this historic moment?

Guess, the Islamo fundies have them all scared. And Mushie, along with all other regional leaders, kow-tow too much to the Islamic religious fundies. Price to pay for staying in power, perhaps? Do ya'll see any similarities here in U.S.???

With the archaic Islamic mindset of women being out of mind, out of sight, covered from head-to-toe, etc. etc. etc. .....

....the U.S. is going to install democracy in the region!!!???!?!?!?! Puh-leeze!

Enjoy your Kool-Aid!!


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Tariq:

Benazir was a brave women. She knew the risks.
She died a Shaheed.
So don't weep for her.

Pakistan will survive.
The first Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan was assasinated in 1949 in the same city.
Pakistan has come a long way since.

It is a Nuclear Power with full Missile capabilities,170 million people who belong to the North West of the Subcontinent. It is a country of tribes with centuries of martial traditions the Frontier in particular being the homeland of the fierce Pashtuns(also called Pathans). The Pashtuns have always made their mark outside their homeland; the history of India provides all the testimony.
Remember Dilip Kumar! (or Yousuf Khan).WOW.

Pakistan Army (which has >30% Pashtuns) will never fight the Pashtun tribes.
Benazir Bhutto was just an innocent person caught in the cross fire between Dick Cheney and Baitullah Mahsood.
May God bless her soul. She was a good person.

PSMITH:

"Remember Allah inspired the angels: I am with you. Give firmness to the believers. I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: you smite them above their necks and smite all their fingertips off of them." (Koran, 8:12)

http://www.faithfreedom.org

Hirainey:

Whoever did accomplish this assination had one very culpable assistant. The victim herself is mostly responsible. How stupid can you be to know you have little or no security protection, to know that they have already tried to assinate you, to know that you are a constant target of ignorant militant factions and then stand up in a moon roof to wave to the crowd.

She might as well have put the gun to her own head. What was she thinking? What were her handlers thinking? You don't make yourself a target when you know they are just waiting to get you.

cms1:

Fact: Musharraf chose not to provide security for Bhutto. She asked for it and he refused. He also refused to investigate the
first attempt on her life when she returned home.
Fact: the crime scene was immediately destroyed.
Fact: there are now some three reasons for cause of death.
Fact: a narrative is being laid down accusing terrorists when there are no facts whatsoever to support this.
Fact: there is no investigation going on to discover who did this.

G. Norias:

Face it Buhtto was convicted, sentenced to death and murdered by one entity, Islam’s religious traditions.
What was her crime?
First she was a woman whose intelligence and courage exceeded most of her male counterparts.
Second she believed in and advocated “Separation of Church and State”.
Third she welcomed a US presence inside Pakistan.
Buhtto was a threat across the board to Middle East culture and its Religious Traditions; so both this woman and her plan had to die.

In life Benazir was by no means perfect, in death she will be.
Jeanne d`Arc move over, Benazirs courage was just as rare.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Global Citizen:

“Rick, this section is akin to the pot calling the kettle black. For decades, America has supplied arms, aid and money to the very same countries mentioned here in her insatiable thirst for natural resources and the black gold. Still does. How do you think you got oil for $1 a gallon for so long when the rest of the world paid $3?”

Excellent point, I certainly did not intend to imply anything different. Our number one priority should be to develop alternative energy sources and become independent of Middle East oil. But for the hundreds of billions of dollars and years of valuable time that we have squandered on the disastrous invasion of Iraq and support for the Zionist invader of Palestine, we would have achieved energy independence by now.

Priority number two should be to drop all support for the Zionist “State of Israel”, political, military and financial, and insist on their evacuation of the Middle East.

Your second point is not so good:

“I do not like the antisemitism seen in the posts here.”

Why is it that any complaint about the atrocities being perpetrated against the Palestinians by the Zionists, and the international scorn this heaps on America for our unconditional support of the Zionists, brings the knee jerk reaction that this is anti-Semitism?

antiPatrick:

I am shocked that the WaPo would allow a racist such as Yossi Melman to post on its site. Perhaps the WaPo just wants to show how ridiculous the views of some Israelis are, but I fear that is not the true reason. This is a sad day for journalism.

blbower:

Regarding " After Benazir Bhutto's assassination on Thursday, what's next for Pakistan?"

Mr. Melman,
It would have been appreciated if you had actually answered the question - what's next for Pakistan? instead of spouting off about inept security forces and who was responsible. It is highly doubtful that anyone will be brought to justice in that country for this tragedy.

You wasted an opportunity to provide us with insight into the political turmoil that will ensue and whether we should be worried about who really has control of the nuclear weapons.

Thanks for nothing.

Global citizen:

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA

"China, India and Pakistan’s thirst for Middle East oil makes them natural allies of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the other Arabian Gulf oil states. They will be eager to supply whatever these countries need in the way of precision guided land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM) like the US Tomahawk."
December 27, 2007 4:27 PM

Rick, this section is akin to the pot calling the kettle black. For decades, America has supplied arms, aid and money to the very same countries mentioned here in her insatiable thirst for natural resources and the black gold. Still does. How do you think you got oil for $1 a gallon for so long when the rest of the world paid $3?

Disclaimer - I am not Jewish and I do not like the antisemitism seen in the posts here. FWIW...

Global citizen:

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA

"China, India and Pakistan’s thirst for Middle East oil makes them natural allies of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the other Arabian Gulf oil states. They will be eager to supply whatever these countries need in the way of precision guided land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM) like the US Tomahawk."
December 27, 2007 4:27 PM

Rick, this section is akin to the pot calling the kettle black. For decades, America has supplied arms, aid and money to the very same countries mentioned here in her insatiable thirst for natural resources and the black gold. Still does. How do you think you got oil for $1 a gallon for so long when the rest of the world paid $3?

Disclaimer - I am not Jewish and I do not like the antisemitism seen in the posts here. FWIW...

Persian Reader:

The comments of this wrter, and the other Israeli-Saul Singer, ought to be framed as desparate comments from people in the same boat as Pakistanis: both Israel and Pakistan were crafted hallucinations of the British after WWII on setting up religious homelands. Both countries are 60-65 years old and neither have true democracy, both are serial violent extremists, both have been propped up as puppets by America and on American life support systems where they have been throwing good money after bad. Both have very violent extremists in their governments. Both have lost turf wars--Pakistan to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, Israel to Hezbollah and Hamas. Both have no clue about peace even if it lands on their heads.

Both are about to crumble as their game is up. The difference is that Pakistanis are local, indigenous people but most Israelis are visitors from Europe and their original plan of finding a peaceful refuge remains a dream--they chose the only place where Jewish blood has been spilt after WWII.

Time for a wholesale revision of both of these fabricated states.

Spring Rain:

Yossi--I HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THIS SUBJECT ALL DAY-WHY DID YOU NOT STATE THE MOST OBVIOUS FACT? WHAT IN GOD'S NAME WAS SHE THINKING, AFTER AN ATTEMPT ON HER LIFE, TO SUDDENLY, POP HERSELF OUT OF HER ARMOURED CAR, SO SHE COULD WAVE TO HER ADORING MASSES, HUH? WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND, AFTER HAVING IGNORED SECURITY ADVICE NOT TO HAVE THIS GRAND CAVALCADE INTO THE CITY, WHERE OVER 150 PEOPLE DIED, WHY DID THROW ALL CAUTION TO THE WIND, AND POP HERSELF OUT OF HER ARMOURED CAR?

It shows, I'm afraid an astounding lack of common sense and good judgment, but also arrogance-she said "no one will try to kill me, it is against Islam." Huh? That shows shows that she should have been NOWHERE NEAR Pakistan, much less running in a power sharing agreement in this country at this time-she should have stayed put in Dubai, where she and her husband were living off the largess of looting the treasury with payoffs from contracts, and money laundering profits from her days in office!

And as for the Taliban loving Nawas Sharif, well, he had everything to gain from Bhutto's death, did he not?

brian mcc, the arctic:

Killed for a lack of security. Yossi should know, former Mossad, was that how it happened with Rabin?

Bangalee Babu:

Re" He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues.

LOL.

We can now add "pseudo prophet" and "astrologer" to this list.

Adam:

Very well written article. Muslims always blame other people for there problems. The main reason that most of the muslim world is involved in the violence is because it is accepable in Islam and a useful mean to spread the religion. The killer(s) must have definitely believed that he was doing Allah's work

Dick Cheney:

Musharref's forces would have killed her one way or the other. She posed a significant threat and difference of opinion to the current regime and tried to move Pakistan into the 22nd Century from its feudal ways. Bush needs all the friends that he can muster even if they are dictators!!

Dick Cheney:

Musharref's forces would have killed her one way or the other. She posed a significant threat and difference of opinion to the current regime and tried to move Pakistan into the 22nd Century from its feudal ways. Bush needs all the friends that he can muster even if there are dictators!!

setting the benchmark:

ISRAEL Involved?

Only to the extent that Israel is the gold standard on how best to take a stolen piece of crap country and turn it into a breeding ground for death and destruction and chaos and fear.

No thanks!

Morons:

there was absolutely nothing controversial about what Yossi said. When Rabin was killed, Israelis absolutely called his security detail incompetent. Here, the security was clearly dreadful.

I guess the mere fact that Yossi is an Israeli or a Jew makes his commentary objectionable in these parts. Sad, because this analysis is 100% correct.

tank:

david...no muslim was blaming Israel or the jews for Ms. Bhutto's death. As far as I can see, Yossi the filthy jew and you brought it up. Get a life other than muslim bashing, you low life jews.

David:

Jews are amazing people....one Muslim kills another Muslim thousands of miles from Israel, and the Jews are blamed.

Of course her security should be questioned since the weak link in that security will lead you to those who committed this act.

The day Muslims stop blaming the Jews for their problems will be the first day of the Muslim renaissance.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Victoria makes some very good points. Certainly Musharraf is one of those with the most to gain. He can now postpone elections indefinitely and hold onto his power, although he may have quite a revolt on his hands if he does so.

On the other hand, Bhutto was a strong ally of the US and an outspoken opponent of the Islamic fundamentalists. That is the kiss of death in this region of the world.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/28/world/asia/28pakistan.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

“In October, Ms. Bhutto survived another deadly suicide attack in the southern city of Karachi on the day she returned from years of self-imposed exile abroad to contest the parliamentary elections. Ms. Bhutto blamed extremist Islamic groups who she said wanted to take over the country for that attack, which narrowly missed her but killed 134 people. But she also complained that the government had taken insufficient steps to safeguard her parade…

She was openly critical of Mr. Musharraf’s ineffectiveness at dealing with Islamic militants and welcomed American involvement…

The assassination comes just days after Mr. Musharraf lifted a state of emergency in the country, which he had used to suspend the Constitution and arrest thousands of political opponents, and which he said he had imposed in part because of terrorist threats by extremists in Pakistan…”

So this is how my crystal ball has it. We just took another step along the path to WW III. The Islamist fundamentalists (Al Qaeda and the Taliban) hold all the cards. Musharraf may or may not be making a serious effort to rein them in. He may be playing live and let live as they build their strength in NW Pakistan and continue to weaken Afghanistan.

The Zionist invader in Palestine keeps the entire Middle East inflamed at both them and the USA for supporting them. Of course our preemptive attack on Iraq and continued occupation of Afghanistan just adds fuel to the flames.

China, India and Pakistan’s thirst for Middle East oil makes them natural allies of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the other Arabian Gulf oil states. They will be eager to supply whatever these countries need in the way of precision guided land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM) like the US Tomahawk. These are precision, Global Position System (GPS) satellite guided, low flying cruise missiles that hug the earth and can be programmed to attack Israel from multiple directions. Israel will never know what hit them. These will not be like the thousands of ballistic Katyusha rockets fired from Southern Lebanon, which mostly land in the olive orchards and sage brush fields. These missiles will each have a high rise building or other high value target and street number programmed in them like our Tomahawk attacks on Baghdad in 1991 and 2003.

Our thirst for oil and 10 Trillion dollar national debt, with much of it owed to China, puts us in a very weak strategic position. China could bankrupt us at will by flooding the market with our worthless paper IOUs. That’s why the US dollar has lost ~33% of its value relative to the Euro, which is on its way to becoming the world standard currency. The US dollar will soon be known as the US Peso.

Israel only produces ~1% of its required oil from its own oil wells, and must import 99%, 90% from Russia. Russia is anything but a reliable ally and is known to have used its natural gas supplied to Eastern Europe as a political tool in the past.

So standby for action the so called Zionist “State of Israel” and its number one ally the USA. We live in interesting times.

damian:

Exactly what one would expect from an Israel.

netzen:

You are very right to point that "the blame can be laid at the feet of any of a large number of elements".

But Musharraf, as the former Head of the Army, and President of Pakistan, having the largest resources of the Country at his orders, should have organised her protection, especially because of the former attempts. For example he could have proposed to her to have public televised debates, or a proportioned time for her speeches, in TV studios instead of leaving her roaming around on the streets. As we do in the civilised world.

Certainly he carries some heavy responsability for the desorders in his Country.

Mahmud:

Yossi the racist spent approximately five minutes before he could begin spewing the hate. Hey yossi...not everything has to do with Israel, not everybody are out to get the jews. Pakistan has its own problems. But talk like these show why jews are so hated everywhere.

qualquan:

If we could not protect Lincoln, the Kennedy brothers, MLK, Malcolm X... Israel could not protect Rabin... India could not protect their prime ministers Indira and Rajiv Gandhi then why is it so surprising that Pakistan could not protect Bhutto?
Sad to say no country seems immune from political violence.
OTOH have China and Russia had similar incidents?

You think we're all so very naive :

Musharraf was ultimately responsible for his country's security, for safe, free elections, and therefore for Bhutto's security. It was his responsibility. He failed. Just in time for the election. How convenient.

Shame on you for letting Musharraf, the military dictator, and the US (once more backing a military dictatorship -- the kind greedy capitalist-zionist-fascists seem to prefer for everyone else but themselves) -- off the hook.

Mid Century Historian:

Our boy Yossi loses no time using the horrid assassination spread a little hate about anything Muslim.

He talks about "god guided" killings of innocents to "gain power and destablize Muslim countries"....
SHALL we laugh or scream in rage at that perfect description of Israel?
Answer,scream in rage.

EVEN MORE DISGUSTING...is that prissy little sermon about assassinations "which infest" the subcontinent. But nothing about the CONSTANT ASSASSINATIONS the Israelis commit daily on innocents in Palestine (though all Palestinian women and children as "milliants", of course.

About the lack of security Yossi decries, pakistani carelessness or worse...does he recall an Israeli prime minister (not candidate) was killed in israel by another Jew not long ago.

As far as Israel being responsible...if this creates chaos in the middle east, blows up, furthers war war war, (the PNAC Plan) or takes attention off the Palestine apartheid or genocide, you could convince the rest of the world. However doubtful that is.

You can be sure the Israelis willl take advantage of the chaos. As usual, not in the interest of the United States of America.

Mid Century Historian:

Our boy Yossi loses no time using the horrid assassination spread a little hate about anything Muslim.

He talks about "god guided" killings of innocents to "gain power and destablize Muslim countries"....
SHALL we laugh or scream in rage at that perfect description of Israel?
Answer,scream in rage.

EVEN MORE DISGUSTING...is that prissy little sermon about assassinations "which infest" the subcontinent. But nothing about the CONSTANT ASSASSINATIONS the Israelis commit daily on innocents in Palestine (though all Palestinian women and children as "milliants", of course.

About the lack of security Yossi decries, pakistani carelessness or worse...does he recall an Israeli prime minister (not candidate) was killed in israel by another Jew not long ago.

As far as Israel being responsible...if this creates chaos in the middle east, blows up, furthers war war war, (the PNAC Plan) or takes attention off the Palestine apartheid or genocide, you could convince the rest of the world. However doubtful that is.

You can be sure the Israelis willl take advantage of the chaos. As usual, not in the interest of the United States of America.

JBE:

The fact remains that Musharreff is a royal IDIOT for failing to protect her - Bhutto WAS his paperd-over LEGITEMACY!

You'd THINK he'd go out of his way and make a biiiiig show of protecting her.

Apparently he's not only corrupt, weak, in fear of the clergy and wing-nut fundamentalist right in his own country, but a political idiot, too.

VICTORIA:


i unequivocally and unconditionally condemn and revile these acts of terrorism and all acts of terrorsim done by deluded and vicious barbarians who claim they represent islam.

Council on American-Islamic Relations statement-

The “Not in the Name of Islam” petition states:

“We, the undersigned Muslims, wish to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror, murder and cruelty in the name of Islam are not only destroying innocent lives, but are also betraying the values of the faith they claim to represent. No injustice done to Muslims can ever justify the massacre of innocent people, and no act of terror will ever serve the cause of Islam. We repudiate and dissociate ourselves from any Muslim group or individual who commits such brutal and un-Islamic acts. We refuse to allow our faith to be held hostage by the criminal actions of a tiny minority acting outside the teachings of both the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.”


Do you know what our Prophet, peace be upon him, told us? He repeated thrice, "He does not believe! He does not believe! He does not believe!" Who was he referring to? "That person whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil."

As it states in the Quran: ‘Oh you who believe, stand up firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even if it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor; for God can best protect both. Do not follow any passion, lest you not be just. And if you distort or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do.’” (Quran 4:135)


yellojkt:

"Worst case of suicide we have ever seen."
-Draft ISI report dated 12/23/2007

VICTORIA:

very sad that all posts by mr melman always degenrate into muslim bashing.

given the incredible security, almost police state-like efficiency of musharaff, (and HE has certainly survived many asassination attempts, hasn't he?)

i wouldn't rule out musharaffs responsibility in this matter too quickly.

nor his own, seemingly deliberate negligence in protecting her.

but this reasoning is the most illogical of all-

"The likelihood of both claims is extremely low, especially considering the apparent deal in principle struck between Musharraf and Bhutto whereby both would enter a power-sharing arrangement and form a joint coalition"


yes, if musharaff were looking forward to, encouraging and anticipating sharing power that would make that likelihood low.

however, the OPPOSITE is true-
and since the opposite is true, the opposite conclusion must necessarily be drawn.

and the first question one always should ask in such cases is, "who stands to benefit?"

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