By Theodore Shoebat
Trump just recently had a talk with the president of Turkey, Recep Tayip Erdogan, on maintaining their military plan in Syria. This conversation happened not too long after pastor Andrew Brunson was released. As we read in a report from the Daily Sabah:
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. counterpart Donald Trump discussed the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the release of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson as well as other bilateral issues over the phone late Sunday, the presidential press office said early Monday.
The two leaders discussed the situation in Syria, stressing the importance of the Manbij road map and maintaining peace in Idlib.
At the beginning of the month, Turkish and U.S. forces began training for joint patrols in the northern Syrian city of Manbij in line with a deal focusing on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated People’s Protection Units (YPG) terror group from the city in order to stabilize the region.
A report from the Independent Balkan News Agency states:
Anadolu news agency also refers to sources who said that during the phone discussion, Erdogan and Trump talked about the recently released from house arrest (in Izmir-Turkey), American pastor Andrew Brunson, their bilateral co-operation in fighting terrorism and the roadmap on Syria’s Manbij province.
So, what is happening is exactly what we said will happen regarding Brunson in light of America’s foreign policy in Syria in collaboration with Turkey. Brunson’s imprisonment provided a way for the Americans to appear as though they are not completely on the side of Turkey in its expansion into Syria. The US, supposedly, imposed sanctions on Turkey to look ‘tough’ for the American people. With Brunson’s release, the US can now appear that they got justice and not have the appearance that they are fully in cahoots with Turkey in supporting its military presence in Syria. This is what I said in my video on the Brunson situation:
There is another side to the Brunson situation as well, and that is the religious and nationalist tensions between Russia and Ukraine. According to a report from Turkey, the United States stipulated to Turkey that they, in order to have the sanctions lifted, must release Brunson and that they must twist the arm of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Istanbul (the headquarters of the Eastern Orthodox world) to authorize the creation of a Ukrainian Orthodox Church independent of the Moscow patriarchate (the authority of which the Orthodox Church in Ukraine has been traditionally under). This caused the Russian Orthodox Church to break away from the Eastern Orthodox headquarters in Istanbul, an historically unprecedented event. According to one report from Modern Diplomacy:
One of Washington’s main conditions for lifting the sanctions is Brunson’s release. However, there is another one – the autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), the author states.
Why would the United States care about the religious tensions between Ukraine and Russia? The US does not care about the religion itself, but — as it has done with Islam in Iran and Afghanistan — exploiting and using it for geopolitical purposes. By giving the Ukrainians a church independent of Moscow, the Ukrainian nationalists, who are very powerful and influential, will get emboldened. The religious nationalism in Ukraine against Russians is very real. For example, in July of 2011, the Lviv oblast council wanted to thank Igor Vozyakov, a Russian philanthropist, for donating a rare Christian icon of the Virgin Mary. This enraged Oleh Tyahnybok, the Ukrainian nationalist leader of the Nazi Svoboda Party, who said: “You also kiss Moskals’ asses.” Moskal is the word used by the Ukrainian nationalists for Russians. The Americans know these nationalists very closely, since top US officials have worked with Mr. Tyahnybok himself, like John McCain:
In 2008, Iryna Farion, another Ukrainian nationalist leader, said: “I think that the structure that calls itself a Moscow Patriarchate has nothing to do with Christianity. It is one of the greatest threats for independent and self-sustained development of Ukraine. As long as this institution occupies the Kyiv Pecherska Lavra [an ancient monastery in Ukraine], a Ukrainian will be enslaved.”
In July of 2010, when Patriarch Kirill visited Ukraine, Ukrainian nationalists met him with signs that said, “Down with Moscow Colonizer Priest,” “Ukrainian Orthodox Church against Moscow Heresy,” and “Moscow Patriarchate — Spiritual Occupant”. On May of 2012, around thirty Ukrainian nationalists attacked a church in the Dnieper part of Kiev. They vandalized Christian symbols, destroyed the altar, damaged the Crucifix and icons and threatened the clergy. In the name of the nation, they became antichrist. In April of 2013, three hundred Ukrainian nationalists, carrying the flags of the Svoboda party, tried to storm a church in Novo-Arkhangelsk. They broke the gates and the doors of the church and tried to hit the clergy who were in the courtyard of the church (see Byshok & Kochetkov, Neo-Nazis & Euromaidan, pp. 71-72)
The tensions are very real. It is a situation of nationalism that very susceptible to exploitation by outside forces to increase the jingoism that is already there. The United States understands this. Why would it want Turkey to pressure the Church in Istanbul to make a Ukrainian church, a situation that would only embolden the nationalists? It goes hand in hand to the agenda that NATO has had going back to the Cold War, and that is the rise of nationalism, as we can see from the Gladio project.