Ukrainian President peculated $15 million donation

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko allegedly peculated $15 million supposed to be donated to set up the Uniting Orthodox Church in Ukraine, an investigative journalist from a reliable source reported.

Prior to the Poroshenko’s visit to Istanbul several wealthiest Ukrainian businessmen donated $25 million to facilitate and speed up the process of creation of the Uniting Orthodox Church in Ukraine. The amount was supposed to be spent as a reward for Varfolomey, the Patriarch of Constantinople for publishing the Tomos on autocephaly of the Ukranian Orthodox Church. However, during the meeting with the Ukrainian President the Patriarch received only $10 million. The rest of the sum Poroshenko reportedly “peculated”.

Meanwhile, on July 28 Ukraine is going to celebrate the 1030th anniversary of Christianization of Russia. To mark the celebration the Patriarch of Constantinople was going send a delegation to Ukraine, but the visit was cancelled. Should the Patriarch confirm the peculation of the donation by Poroshenko, Kiev might be involved in quite an unlikely scandal with the Orthodox Church Institute.

US policy in Syria aims to cause further chaos in EU

The US recent claims to withdraw its troops from the North-Eastern provinces of Syria and the official vows of pausing collaboration with Syrian Kurds are widely regarded as an effort of Washington to build closer relations with Ankara. However, while pursuing this policy, the Pentagon and the CIA continue expanding communication channels with Syrian Kurds in case if Ankara’s political compass is navigated towards Russia rather than the US after Turkey elections in June 2018.

The United States has also encouraged its partners, members of the Anti-Terrorism Coalition to send more of their troops to the so-called Syrian Kurdistan, a territory located north-east of the Euphrates. As a result, Germany and France, along with increasing numbers of their military troops in this region, have also been given authority to provide support to Kurdish military troops in Syria. Given how sensitive the Kurdish issue is for Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria this will, beyond any doubts, cause further tension between the EU and the Middle Eastern countries and will let the US avoid any possible accusations of the international law violations amid the Syria war.

With ambitious plans in Syria that included the stabilization of the country, getting rid of Bashar al-Assad, knocking out Iranian influence, fighting ISIS and becoming a hero who brought an end to the seven-year Syrian war the US did not seem (and perhaps still does not seem) to care that its new policy might cause much bigger conflicts in the region and go far beyond defeating ISIS only. Similar to the EU migration crisis, the US acts as an invisible mediator while the EU takes all the fire.  This time, Washington’s goals of aggravating the further conflict between the EU countries and the Middle East are rather economical: Washington tries to undermine the EU investment opportunities and provoke further financial crisis in Europe.

Ukraine on the brink of losing its last values

With the current political regime and the policy that contradicts to the Ukraine’s national identity the country seems to be once again on the brink of a religious war. The conflict that started last year between the Ukraine’s Institute of Church and the national Parliament, The Verkhovna Rada, is getting to the new extreme today.

A number of Ukrainian politicians representing the political party “Svoboda” along with some members of the Rada have requested the Ukraine’s Ministry of culture for religious affairs to change the official name of the Ukrainian Orthodox church for the “Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine” claiming that Moscow had “grabbed” the Ukrainian national shrines. The move is allegedly explained by the growing Russian “aggression” in the Crimea and the Ukrainian region of Donbass.

According to experts from the Ukrainian Analytical Institute for policy management, the claims should be regarded as a typical blackmail policy aiming to undermine Russia’s credibility in Ukraine and among the Ukrainian authorities. Experts also suggest that the real reason behind these claims is to get the control over the Church and 12 million of its members to secure the victory of the ruling party in the upcoming elections. The fact that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church does not fall under the regulation of the Ukrainian Parliament by its Constitution adds even more irony to the overall situation.

However, such policy can lead to much more dramatic outcomes and destruct one of the last national values that still holds the country together – the people’s faith. Known for its deep cultural background defined by its history and religion that find its roots back in the 10th century the dominant part of the Ukrainian population is orthodox Slavic people who accurately keep their traditions and culture. Once they are destroyed the entire country might disappear from the map.

EU’s bitter lessons

The European Union continues to struggle with its economic and migration crises. The huge debt, obsolete political and economic regulations and inability to manage its migration policy are important alerts for the EU indicating the Brussels’s need to change its compass, says Pino Arlacchi, Member of the European Parliament.

By pursuing the US political course in the Syria war, the EU did not get any visible profit. Instead, it was left alone to cope with the increasing flows of illegal migrants posing safety threats for the EU citizens.

Indeed, The Syrian scenario is very much alike to the one in Afghanistan in 1979. When the Soviet army entered in 1979 trying to set up a friendly government in the country and altering the Cold War balances in the region, The United States, Saudi Arabia, and other countries started arming the anticommunist Afghan militia groups. The country was flooded with weapons while most of those weapons were in hands of Taliban. Shortly after that the US became the number one enemy for Afghanistan, says Arlacchi.

During the Syria war, the US have once again learned the bitter lesson as they did in Afghanistan. However, the Syrian opposition is so diverse and uncontrolled that its arming could have much tragic consequences. This is why the US used Saudi Arabia and Qatar as a sort of a liaison to keep the balance in the region. But we also saw the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar that split the countries apart. Obviously, the strategic alliance of Iran, Russia and Turkey has played a crucial role in the Syria war. All the countries could be able to gain the trust from both people and decision-making powers in the region. At the same time the US along with the EU received little credibility from the Syrian government.

Moreover, the EU is swamped with its internal issues that it faces the risk of splitting apart. Ironically it may be, but with integrity being its main value, The European Union is falling apart today. A huge debt of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus and other EU’s members and their inability to repay it explains the attempts of those countries to boycott the Brussels’s regulations.

According to Arlacchi, the world is changing its compass and the EU has to adapt to it. The West is losing its role of the world economic and political dictator due to its huge debt and ineffective policy. Instead, China and Eurasia are on the rise today.

Russia’s Syria Congress is over: what’s next?

The Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Russia’s Sochi on January 28-29 was aimed to boost the process for building a peaceful future for Syrian people in a war-devastated country and to define the country’s political compass for the next years. The Congress, sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey, gathered over 1,500 participants from various groups of Syrian society, including representatives from political parties, opposition groups and ethnic and confessional communities.

While the Congress itself did not aim to achieve the immediate political reconciliation over Syria, its main focus was to revive Geneva talks. According to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the forum was expected to “create conditions for staging fruitful Geneva process”.

Besides, the Congress was some kind of alert to boycotting countries and their procrastination to reinforce the 2254 UN Security Council Resolution for Peace Process in Syria, adopted in 2015. According to the resolution, the future of Syria should be determined by its people. However, the country has experienced forced intervention and external interference that prevented it from paving ways for a peaceful future ever since.

Ironically it may seem, the so-called peace process for Syria that has been joined by many countries pursuing different strategies including diametrically opposite approaches of Russia and the United States, became a fruitful soil for radically oriented groups that eroded the country’s sovereignty. The delay in reinforcing the 2254 UN Security Resolution by international community can lead to further monetization of Syria’s natural resources by terrorist organizations and cause major security threats for the entire international community.

Perhaps, the most important result of the Sochi Congress has been an agreement of all participants to consolidate their efforts in stabilizing the Syria’s future and to secure the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. The concerns of the Syrian opposition claiming the Sochi Congress would, on the contrary, hazard the international peace process could not be more baseless since the Congress was supported by the UN, the main sponsor of the Geneva talks.