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Russia’s S-300 play in Syria is creating MASSIVE geopolitical waves

The Kremlin made the decision to supply Damascus with the potent S-300 air-defense system after a Syrian surface-to-air missile battery mistakenly shot down a Russian aircraft during an Israeli raid.

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Russia says it will supply Syria with a version of the S-300 air and missile-defense system, despite objections from Washington and Tel Aviv. The Kremlin made the decision to supply Damascus with the potent air-defense system after a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile battery mistakenly shot down a Russian Ilyushin Il-20M Coot-A intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft during an Israeli raid on Assad regime forces on September 17.

“A modern S-300 air defense missile system will be supplied to the Syrian Armed Forces within two weeks,” Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said on September 24, as reported by the state-owned TASS news agency . “It is capable of intercepting air assault weapons at a distance of more than 250 kilometers and hit simultaneously several air targets.”

Russia’s Decision

The Kremlin has decided to supply the Syrian regime with the potent S-300 because Moscow blames Israel for the downing of its Il-20M despite the fact that it was a Syrian-operated weapon that brought the four-engine turboprop down. The Russians accuse Tel Aviv of using the lumbering ISR plane as cover during an air raid by four Israeli F-16 fighters on a Syrian regime target.

“I will underscore—at the request of the Israeli side, in 2013 we suspended the delivery of S-300 systems that were ready for the dispatch, while the Syrian military had undergone training,” Shoigu said. “Now the situation has changed, and we are not to blame.”

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Shoigu also noted that Moscow would send Syria advanced battle management and combat identifications systems so that Damascus’ forces will be able to ensure that they can properly identify Russian aircraft in the future. “The command posts of Syrian air defense forces and units will be equipped with automated control systems only supplied to the Russian armed forces,” Shoigu said. “This will facilitate centralized control over all forces and resources of the Syrian air defense, monitor the situation in the air, and ensure operative issuance of orders. Most importantly, we will guarantee the identification of all Russian aircrafts by the Syrian air defense systems.”

Indeed, while Russian president Vladimir Putin initially put the blame for the incident on the fog of war, more recently the Kremlin has said that it blames Israel for the loss of its aircraft. “The information presented by the Israeli military on the operation of their aircraft over Syrian territory differs from the conclusions of the Russian Defence Ministry,” the Kremlin said in a statement . “Russia proceeds from the premise that the actions of the Israeli Air Force were the main cause of the tragedy.”

The Kremlin said in a call to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that it believes that delivering these additional weapons systems to the Syrian regime is the only way to safeguard lives of Russian servicemen operating in Syria. “Vladimir Putin emphasized that Russia’s decisions to bolster the combat capabilities of Syrian air defenses are appropriate at this juncture and primarily intended to thwart any potential threat to the lives of the Russian military service members fulfilling the tasks of combating international terrorism,” the Kremlin said.

Irresponsible Hands

During his conversation with Putin, Netanyahu emphasized the Israeli view “that transferring advanced weapons systems into irresponsible hands will increase the dangers in the region, and added that Israel will continue to defend its security and its interests.”

Washington also waded into the issue, with National Security Advisor John Bolton calling the Russian decision to arm Syria with the S-300 a “major mistake” and a “significant escalation.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he expects to take the matter up with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Syria to Blame

Israel also reiterated that Syria is to blame for the downing of the Russian Il-20M. “Since the tragic events in the skies over Syria I have spoken twice with President Putin. I expressed to him our deep regret over the loss of the crew of the Russian plane that was brought down by irresponsible Syrian anti-aircraft fire,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a tweet . “This morning I convened the Security Cabinet which received a full update on the recent events. The Security Cabinet ministers also share in the deep sorrow of the Russian families and the Russian people.”

However, while Tel Aviv expressed its regret over the loss of the lives of the Russian servicemen, Israel says that it has no option but to push back against Iranian encroachment. Thus, Israel will continue to cooperate with Moscow, but Tel Aviv will not back down from taking action against Iran. “We give full backing to the IDF [Israel Defense Force] in its actions to defend the state,” Netanyahu said . “We will continue to take action to prevent the establishment of an Iranian military presence in Syria and we will continue the security coordination between the IDF and the Russian military. . . . To this end, I agreed with President Putin that IDF and Russian military working teams would meet soon. We will do what is necessary to defend the security of Israel.”

Strategic Consequences

While the Russians have not said which version of the S-300 it will be giving to Syria, the weapons will like be the relatively modern S-300PMU-2 variant. However, given that it would take several months to train Syrian crews to operate the sophisticated S-300 system, it is a near certainty that Russian crews would initially operate the missiles.

“I think it’s unlikely that the Syrians will be ready to operate this without Russian advisers and support for the immediate future,” Center for Naval Analyses research scientist Michael Kofman told the National Interest . “There’s a degree of ambiguity there that introduces some uncertainty as to who is really operating the system.”

Indeed, given that there is no dispute that it was the Syrian military that downed the Russian Il-20M, it is possible that the Russians do not intend to ever allow Assad regime crews to operate the S-300. Given that fact that Shoigu stated that Moscow would equip Assad regime command posts with “automated control systems only supplied to the Russian armed forces” in order to “facilitate centralized control over all forces and resources of the Syrian air defense,” it is possible that the Kremlin is planning on de facto taking over the management of all Syrian air defenses. Certainly, that would ensure that poorly trained and motivated Syrian troops would not inadvertently attack friendly forces in a panic while under fire.

What’s more, the presence of Russian forces manning Syrian-owned air defenses would complicate Israeli attempts to strike at the Assad regime and Iranian forces operating inside Syria. Israel can ill afford to strike directly at Syrian targets during a raid if that would mean that Moscow’s forces were caught in the crossfire since the Kremlin will not likely let another such incident slide unpunished. As such, the presence of additional Russian forces would constrain Israel’s ability to act inside Syria.

Of course, if Russia does turn the S-300 batteries over to Syrian operators, then there is always the distinct possibility that Israel could attempt to eliminate those weapons. Indeed, Israel has the perfect weapon to do just that—its newly acquired fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. However, in the immediate future, while Syria’s S-300s are operated by Russian forces, Israel will likely be hampered in its ability to strike further targets in Syria.

Via The National Interest

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craig watson
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The F-35 is a piece of junk. Russian war planes are so far advanced over anything built by the USA that Israel is now powerless in the face of Russian armaments, as is the USA.

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

Yes, it would be quite interesting to see whether Washington would allow such an attempt. If the F-35s were all shot down it would not be a very good advertisement for future sales.

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

It might not be a good sales pitch, but it would be funny for most of the World.

Ian
Guest
Ian

If the F-35 was shot down, they could revert back to the age old excuse, pilot error.

Nexus789
Guest
Nexus789

Or a birdstrike

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Have you seen the short article, over on RI? How easy it is for Russia to view the US stealth planes, flying over Syria.

Russian Su-35 Tracked a US F-22 Stealth Fighter Over Syria With Infra-Red Sensors… https://russia-insider.com/en/russian-su-35-tracked-us-f-22-stealth-fighter-over-syria-infra-red-sensors/ri24895

Mike
Guest
Mike

You are smoking so good shit! Even the Russians knows that F35 and 22 are superior to anything Russia has…

7.62x54R
Guest
7.62x54R

It will be great news when an SAA S-300 eliminates an invading Israeli F-16. Several being flamed at once would be even better.

Bob Valdez
Guest
Bob Valdez

I think it is YOU who are smoking something, probably ‘shit’, as you put it.

Normski
Member
Normski

Really?.

Nexus789
Guest
Nexus789

Typical deluded response from the US. The JSF has a single big and very hot engine. Will stick out like dogs nuts to IR sensors

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

MASSIVE? In capital letters?
Far as I c’n see “geopolitical response” has been pretty muted.
NO-ONE mentioned it at Trump’s special UNSC (the one he ducked away from after he told everyone how wonderful he was) – – even May didn’t take the opportunity to remind the world what dastardly bastards the Russian are.

So Bibi had a conniption – but when does he ever not?
Even Bolton forgot all his fire and brimstone and threats of outright murder.

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

“…during an Israeli raid on Assad regime forces on September 17”.

Correction: “…during an Israeli raid on Syrian territory, which destroyed Syrian premises and property”.

The word “regime” is inappropriate, since Mr Assad and his government have been democratically elected with large majorities, and are strongly supported by most Syrian citizens.

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

No mention that the Israelis had their “Identification, friend or foe (IFF)”; switched off – which makes this a war.

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

“Israel says that it has no option but to push back against Iranian encroachment”. On the contrary, Israel has absolutely no right whatsoever to attack anything inside the borders of Syria – or any other country. Who and what the Syrian government welcomes in its country is no business of Israel or anyone else. If Syria chooses to have Iranian soldiers and weapons inside Syria, Israel has no legal right to do anything to stop it. I believe that Israel has US soldiers, technical experts and weapons systems within its borders. Does this give Syria, Iran or any other nation… Read more »

Prometheus
Guest
Prometheus

Talking about encroachment! Who is best at that anyway? Just asked the Gazans and West Bank. Guess that includes Golan Heights too. These psychopaths need to be put to bed.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

The US has more than some “US soldiers, technical experts and weapons systems” on Israeli soil….the US now has a full-blown military base within Israels borders! https://www.defensenews.com/breaking-news/2017/09/18/us-breaks-ground-for-new-permanent-base-in-israel/

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

“Certainly, that would ensure that poorly trained and motivated Syrian troops would not inadvertently attack friendly forces in a panic while under fire”.

You mean the way the “poorly trained and motivated” US Navy officers of USS Vincennes shot down the Iranian Airbus in 1988?

And they did not even have the excuse of being under fire.

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

The Syrians ordered the S-300 many years ago – 2012 / 2013 to be precise.

“”I will underscore – at the request of the Israeli side, in 2013 we suspended the delivery of S-300 systems that were ready for the dispatch, while the Syrian military had undergone training. Now the situation has changed, and we are not to blame,” the defense minister said.

More:
http://tass.com/defense/1022844

It would be a mistake to assume that they have not already been trained.

Richard Steven Hack
Guest
Richard Steven Hack

As usual, The National Interest plays down the ability of the S-300 systems to deal with the F-35 and other Israeli aircraft. The fact remains that these new systems will be operated by Syrians, not Russians. Shoigu directly stated that the Syrian crews were being trained before when the S-300 deal was previously on. While there may be some updated training going on, what does it matter? There will eventually be Syrian crews running these systems. The Russians are not going to tell the Syrians not to shoot down Israeli aircraft, as is implied by the article. They don’t do… Read more »

Walter Dublanica
Member

Mike& John you are second fiddles to Vlad & Sergei . V&S rule the middle east. M&J are ruled by Israel.

Sean
Guest
Sean

Stopped reading after “Syrian regime”. Why is the Duran publishing this anti Syrian/Russian propaganda? Are you trying to lose your remaining few readers?

Vince Dhimos
Guest

We saw this back in July 2917 when we posted (http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news–analysis/look-whos-r-e-a-l-l-y-edging-out-the-dollar) “Those who are aware of this effort to settle trades in anything but dollars are mostly focusing on Russia and China as the lead actors in this movement. But despite their size and clout, these two are bit players, who would likely take decades to put a dent in the dollar’s clout. Not so the EU, which plays the lead role, doing the lion’s share of non-dollar international settlements and lending. This is precisely what Putin and Xi want, which is certainly why Putin said at the last Valdai… Read more »

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

A good day for democracy, peace and anti-terrorism. Boohoo Zio/Saudi/Western war criminals!!

TEP
Guest
TEP

It is nothing short of despicable that Majumdar repeatedly refers to Syrian government as Syrian “regime”, or it’s legal forces as “regime forces”. Consequently I will not read any further articles by this author. The Duran really has gone downhill with some of it’s choices of contributors.

Joe King
Guest
Joe King

Why is the Syrian government always called a regime? What about the American Regime?

Mike
Guest
Mike

Ask the 400,000 Syrian citizens that got killed by the regime! Oups, you cant, they are dead!

fred
Guest
fred

note to self don’t feed the troll

Zara Ali
Guest

“…that transferring advanced weapons systems into irresponsible hands will increase the dangers in the region, and added that Israel will continue to defend its security and its interests.”
Yet another example of how Zionism breeds a delusional and thoroughly dysfunctional psyche and how it kills the conscience. Each time these psychopaths pass a judgment on others it is strikingly similar to their own true image. Self-deception and self-righteousness reigns… hypocritical piety rules… leaves the common man with even the most basic common sense flabbergasted.

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Thanks John Tosh, for the Jimmy Dores link. Well worth viewing. The Professor, the voice of common sense.

Bombshell: Professor Stuns MSNBC Panel On Syria… https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=240&v=_O2TRzA2ezk

Victor
Guest
Victor

Of course the Russians will hand over operations of the S-300s to Syria (whom they have already trained). This is a necessity from the Russian perspective. Why? Because if Russia retains control, this means that if the Israelis attack syrian territory again, the decision to shoot them down will lie squarely with Russia, not the Assad government, which of course means that if Russia shoots them down, it is instantaneous war on a wider scale, whilst if Russia does not shoot them down, then they are betraying the Syrians by allowing the Israelis full access to Syrian targets. No, the… Read more »

ZirconMach20
Guest
ZirconMach20

Syrian crews HAVE ALREADY been trained to handle the S-300s since 2013, and the F-35 would be a fat juicy target for the S-300 considering the much older S-200 ALREADY shot down an Israeli F-35 earlier this year, but which the Israelis claimed was brought down by a bird. Majumdar is either ignorant or is a cheerleader for US junk weaponry.

fred
Guest
fred

i cant find it anymore bet there was a story about how F 22 pilots were complaining that they were painted by russian radar

JNDillard
Guest
JNDillard

It would be tragic to see one, two, or three of those new F-35’s shot down. That would pretty well put the end to the Israeli/US myth of military invincibility. With Russians operating the S-300’s, and as many as eight S-300’s to be supplied to Syria, according to Southfront.org, the bottom line is that Israel’s days of using fighter aircraft to attack Syria are over. They may still use drones and long-range cruise missiles, however.

Mish
Guest
Mish

“Poorly trained and motivated Syrian troops”? What is Majumdar smoking? At least they are better motivated than the Israel and US proxy faux jihadniks, apparently. In the quoted Russian MoD statement about the suspension of S-300 delivery, doesn’t it say that the Syrian crews had been trained already in 2013, before the delivery was suspended? And it’s far from a cinch that it was Syrian air defenses who shot that plane down. The flight trajectory suggests otherwise. The Il-20 was way far from the Israeli jets when it was shot down. The French fired one or several missiles. Where did… Read more »

stephan williams
Guest
stephan williams

What an embarrassing piece of pro-Israeli, pro US propaganda! Who does the author work for? Mossad or the CIA?

Karl
Guest
Karl

If Israel doesn’t invade Syria’s airspace and kill it’s people they will have nothing to worry about!

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Fusion GPS founder trapped in legal jeopardy, bets on Democrat midterm win to bury Russiagate hoax (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 135.

Alex Christoforou

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Fusion GPS researcher Nellie Ohr and ex-FBI official James Baker are set to testify before Congress, but Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson is taking the Fifth.

The man at the center of the Russiagate hoax, Glenn Simpson, headed the espionage/PR smear firm Fusion GPS, which ordered the discredited and fake Trump ‘dossier’, which John McCain handed to the FBI, and which Buzzfeed News published as actual news.

Simpson has a lot of explaining to do, and now appears trapped in his “under oath” lies.

Simpson had previously testified under oath to the House Intelligence Committee that he never met with DOJ official Bruce Ohr, husband to Fusion GPS researcher Nellie Ohr.

Simpson also stated under oath that he never discussed with Bruce Ohr the Steele dossier prior to the October FISA application, which was used to spy on Carter Page and kick off the ‘Russiagate hoax’.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the legal jeopardy entangling Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. Republicans are close to breaking the ‘Russiagate hoax’ wide open, but Simpson is betting on delay tactics, and a subsequent Democrat midterm House victory, to save his ass from prosecution, and bury his involvement in a brazen attempt to discredit and remove an elected US President.

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According to Zerohedge, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson may be in “real legal jeopardy” over inconsistent testimony given to Congress regarding his involvement in a massive counterintelligence effort against then-candidate Donald Trump, including the infamous Steele dossier.

Speaking with Fox News Maria Bartiromo, John Ratcliffe (R-TX) said…

“I’m not surprised that Glenn Simpson is taking the Fifth.”

“He probably should. He’s in real legal jeopardy. Very clearly someone is not telling the truth.”

Via The Daily Caller… 

Simpson, who investigated the Trump campaign on behalf of the DNC and Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, informed Congress on Thursday that he will plead the Fifth to avoid speaking with members of the House Judiciary and House Oversight & Government Committee in an interview set for Tuesday.

“The reason for that … is that Glenn Simpson had previously testified under oath to the House Intelligence Committee that he never met with Bruce Ohr or discussed with Bruce Ohr the Steele dossier prior to the October FISA application in 2016 or the 2016 presidential election,” said Ratcliffe, a member of the House Judiciary panel.

Via Fox News ‘Sunday Morning Futures’

Via Zerohedge

Ohr told the Judiciary and Oversight & Government Reform Committees in an August 28 interview that he met with Simpson in August and December of 2016 to discuss Fusion GPS’s opposition research into Donald Trump.

Bruce’s wife, Nellie Ohr, was hired by Fusion GPS for the anti-Trump effort at the time.

Simpson, however, told a different story to the House Intelligence Committee on November 14, 2017, when he said that he hadn’t been in contact with anyone from the DOJ or FBI until after the election. While he did acknowledge meeting with Bruce Ohr (meetings which would result in Ohr’s demotion), Simpson never disclosed his wife’s employment.

“Ohr, who has been demoted twice since December, was also in frequent contact with Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous anti-Trump dossier. Steele, a former British spy, was hired by Fusion GPS in June 2016 to investigate the Trump campaign’s possible links to the Kremlin.

Steele met with the Ohrs on July 30, 2016, a day before the FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump team. Ohr met just after with FBI deputy Director Andrew McCabe.” – Daily Caller

Following the 2016 election, Steel and Ohr met over a dozen times, despite the FBI having blacklisted Steele for improper media disclosures concerning his work.

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Hillary and Holder are hurting Democrat Party with their rhetoric

Democrat-written opinion piece points out the fact that the party has radicalized so much it has left its own supporters behind.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Fox News ran an opinion piece written by Douglas E. Schoen early Sunday. It points out how radicalized the Democrat Party has become, and it is noteworthy because Douglas Schoen is a Democrat himself. He writes (emphasis added):

As Democrats campaign for the Nov. 6 midterm elections, they have plenty of legitimate criticisms to level at President Trump and Republicans who control the House and Senate. But Democrats were hurt in recent days by amazing and disgusting comments made by Hillary Clinton and former Attorney General Eric Holder.

As a Democrat, I want my party to win as many seats as possible in the House and Senate and to capture as many governorships and other state offices as it can. But the Clinton and Holder remarks do not advance that effort – they hurt it.

Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Clinton said Tuesday that “you cannot be civil with” the Republican Party because it “wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.” She added that “if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”

But even worse than Clinton’s comments were those of Eric Holder, who said at a recent campaign event in Georgia that Democrats should abandon the advice of former first lady Michelle Obama, who said at the 2016 Democratic National Convention that her party and mine should respond positively to negative attacks from the GOP.

Mrs. Obama said that “when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.”

Holder argued just the opposite, saying: “When they go low, we kick them. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.” He later said he wasn’t advocating violence – not literal kicking.

I beg to differ with both Clinton and Holder.

The only way the Democrats can regain the majority in either or both houses of Congress is by being civil, and pointing out the differences between Democrats and Republicans on the issues.

This is the real issue that should govern elections. Rather than the politics of popularity, one needs to consider policy points and which side offers points that are actually achievable, believable, concrete, desirable and specific. Calling President Trump and his administration names does not offer any constructive dialogue on policy matters.

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Conservatives and Trump supporters know this and it is precisely because of this that Donald Trump won the White House.

While the mainstream media (and here we can include Fox News largely) tried every possible way to ridicule Donald Trump’s candidacy, the people that actually listened to what he had to say found him very impressive on policy as much as his ability to speak as the voice of the people. The recent hysteria around Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and confirmation to the Supreme Court was hysteria up front, driven by real policy fears from the deep core of liberals, as they know that this Justice is likely to form an effective wall against liberals ramming their agenda through the courts since their efforts fail legislatively so often.

Mr. Schoen continues:

As a centrist Democrat, the issue that strikes me most is the degree to which the national debt and the deficit are now out of control.

America faces uncertain and unstable times financially. Yet we are seeing a Republican-controlled Congress that has largely failed to do anything besides provide tax cuts for major corporations and the wealthiest individuals. This is by no means certain to have fundamentally altered the path of the economy or to provide economic growth.

Put another way, what the Trump administration has failed to do is to fix health care and cover pre-existing conditions more fundamentally; lead America in a fiscally responsible way; and pass tax cuts that help the average American. The Trump tax cuts have driven up the national debt and endangered funding for programs that benefit millions of people in our country.

So, here are policy points. Now we can begin to have a debate. Is Mr. Schoen right, or wrong in his information? This is far different than name-calling!

Democrats have long argued the need for a centrist agenda that focuses on:

  • Providing health-care benefits – whether private or public – to all Americans to cover expansively all pre-existing conditions.
  • Protecting the environment from the policies of the Trump administration that have only encouraged –and I dare say exacerbated – environmental degradation and climate change.
  • Promoting a pro-growth, inclusive agenda that seeks to put working people first, and the interests of Washington insiders and economic elites second. President Trump claims that he is doing this – he calls it “draining the swamp” – but this has not happened.

There is no justification for the angry rhetoric of Clinton and Holder, which only feeds into Republican claims that Democrats are an angry mob that can’t get over Clinton’s loss to Trump two years ago.

And Holder looks particularly bad because he was once the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, yet now sounds like he is effectively advocating what appears to be either illegal activities, or metaphorical initiatives that run counter to our traditions and our politics.

Hillary Clinton has said she won’t run for office again, but Holder has said he may run for president in 2020. Whoever the Democratic candidate turns out to be needs to be a responsible and respectable opponent – not one who calls for kicking the GOP or for incivility.

We should have learned from the Senate confirmation hearing for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh that resisting for the sake of resisting doesn’t work. In fact, Democratic attacks on Kavanaugh may well have backfired, recent polls show.

The Democratic Party itself is lost now, without a message, a direction, a strategy, or agenda to confront a Republican Party that is seen as in many ways as having let the American people down.

We need change – but it must be constructive change. This Democrat believes that the comments that Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton made are wrong, counterproductive, and deserve to be rejected by the leadership of the Democratic Party.

Perhaps Fox News ran this opinion piece because Douglas Schoen is the first rational Democrat contributor to say anything in some time. However, it also appears that Mr. Schoen is a minority in his own party. It is a greatly logical approach to argue policy, as he has and as anyone who really understands American government should. But it is unclear as to whether the bulk of the Democrat Party even has reasonable people remaining.

If they do, it may well be that they are being betrayed by their party’s increasingly leftist and radical positions. The Party apparatus seems focused, but it also seems to have left people like Mr. Schoen behind.

Who knows? Maybe that will bring them into the Trump camp.

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Patriarch Bartholomew lifts anathemas on schismatics in Ukraine (VIDEO)

Most of the Orthodox world is in strong opposition to this move by Patriarch Bartholomew, whose motivations seem not to be of Christ.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The biggest news in the Eastern Orthodox world in recent times occurred on Thursday, October 11, 2018. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, lifted the anathemas against two schismatic Ukrainian Churches and their leaders, paving the way to the creation of a fully independent Ukrainian national Orthodox Church.

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This announcement was given in English and is shown here in video with the textual transcript following:

“Presided by His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Holy and Sacred Synod convened for its regular session from October 9 to 11, 2018 in order to examine and discuss items on its agenda. The Holy Synod discussed in particular and at length, the ecclesiastical mater of Ukraine in the presence of His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon and His Grace Bishp Ilarion of Edmonon, Patriarchal Exarchs to Ukraine, and following extensive deliberations decreed (emphasis added):

First, to renew the decision already made, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceed to the granting of autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine;

Second, to re-establish at this moment the stavropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Kiev—one of its many starvorpegion in Ukraine that existed there always;

Third, to accept and review the petitions of appeal of Philaret Denisenko and Makary Maletich and their followers who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons, in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy of all the autocephalous Churches. Thus, the above mentioned have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful have been restored to communion with the Church;

Fourth, to revoke the legal binding of the Synodal letter of the year 1686, issued for the circumstances of that time, which granted the right through economia to the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev elected by the clergy-laity assembly of his eparchy, who would commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch as the first hierarch at any celebration, proclaiming and affirming his canonical dependence to the Mother Church of Constantinople;

Fifth, to appeal to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties as well as every other act of violence and retaliation so that he peace and love of Christ may prevail.”

There are a few things that must be said about what this declaration is not before we get to the matter of what the points of actually are. The point of reference is the strict letter of the text above itself.

  • This is not a granting of autocephaly (full independent self-rule status) like the fourteen universally canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in the world. However, it is a huge step towards this status.
  • As far as Constantinople is concerned, Filaret Denisenko, the leader and “Patriarch” of the “Kyiv Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church” and Makary, the “Metropolitan” of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church”, and all their faithful are now restored to communion. The statement says that this applies to “The Church” which may be trying to state that these two men (and all the faithful that they lead), are now in communion with the entirety of canonical Orthodoxy, but more likely, this may be a carefully worded statement to say they now are in communion with Constantinople alone.
  • There is an official call for the cessation of the violence directed against the Moscow Patriarchate parishes and communities, who are the only canonically recognized Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and who are also the largest by far in that country. The Kyiv Patriarchate and Uniate (Roman oriented) Greek Catholics in Ukraine have gone on record for seizing MP church properties, often by force, with neo-Nazi sympathizers and other radical Ukrainian nationalists. So this official call to cease the violence is now a matter of public record.

However, the reaction has been far less civil than the clergy wished for.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko: “Expressing his view of the Moscow Patriarchate, Poroshenko added, “This is a great victory of the God-loving Ukrainian people over the Moscow demons, the victory of Good over Evil, the victory of Light over Darkness.”’

Perhaps this is the reason Metropolitan Onuphry of Ukraine (exarch under the Moscow Patriarchate) has been labeled an enemy of Ukraine and is now receiving death threats. Very civil.

Poroshenko’s statement is all the more bizarre, considering that it has been Ukrainian ultra-nationalists that have been violently attacking Moscow – related parishes in Ukraine. This has been corroborated by news sources eager to pin the blame on Russia, such as the U.K. Guardian.

The Union of Orthodox Journalists, based in Kiev and supportive of the Moscow Patriarchate, has been under intense cyber attack since October 11th, when the EP’s announcement was issued.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) Chancellor, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary: “What happened at the Synod in Istanbul yesterday shocked the entire Orthodox world. It seems the Patriarchate of Constantinople is consciously embarking on a path of schism in world Orthodoxy. Patriarch Bartholomew ignored the calls of the Local Churches to convene a meeting of the primates to work out a common and conciliar solution to the Ukrainian Church issue and unilaterally made very serious but erroneous decisions. I hope the Orthodox world will give this action an objective evaluation… Having received the schismatics into communion, Patriarch Bartholomew did not make them canonical, but has himself embarked on the path of schism. The schismatics remain schismatics. They did not receive any autocephaly or tomos. It seems they have lost even that independence, although non-canonical, that they had and which they always emphasized.”

Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia:“The Orthodox world recognizes the only canonical primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. This fact was repeatedly mentioned and confirmed by the primate of the Great Church of Christ His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on behalf of all present at the Synaxis of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches that was held in Chambésy (Switzerland) from January 21 to 27, 2016. Therefore, any attempt to legalize the Ukrainian schismatics by the state authorities should be strongly condemned by all the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches.

Patriarch Irinej of Serbia wrote two letters to the Ecumenical Patriarch, advocating that the provision of a new autocephaly is possible only with the consent of all local Orthodox Churches. According to Sedmitza.ru (Translation by Pravoslavie.ru),

“In these letters, it was very clearly stated that the granting of autocephaly cannot be the prerogative the Patriarchate of Constantinople alone, that new autocephalies must be created only with the consent of all the Local Orthodox Churches, as the Holy Synod of Antioch also said in its recent statement.”

Pat. Irinej also warned the Patriarchate of Constantinople against making such major decisions unilaterally, because “it will not bring harmony and peace to the Ukrainian land, but, on the contrary, will cause new divisions and new schisms.”

The Holy Synod of Antioch, the oldest Orthodox Church, and actually the very first place where the disciples of Christ were even called “Christians” weighed in on the issue as well and they had several things to say:

“The fathers examined the general Orthodox situation. They stressed that the Church of Antioch expresses her deep worries about the attempts to change the boundaries of the Orthodox Churches through a new reading of history. She considers that resorting to a unilateral reading of history does not serve Orthodox unity. It rather contributes to the fueling of the dissensions and quarrels within the one Church. Thus, the Church of Antioch refuses the principle of establishing parallel jurisdictions within the canonical boundaries of the Patriarchates and the autocephalous Churches as a way to solve conflicts, or as a de facto situation in the Orthodox world.

To summarize, this move by Constantinople is not being warmly received by many, many people. Most of the local Churches are on record giving their reaction to this process. In brief, here is the list most of the Local Churches and a one or two word summary of their reactions.

Patriarchate of Georgia: Unilateral action is wrong; Constantinople and Moscow must cooperate and find a solution together.

Patriarchate of Jerusalem: recognizes Ukraine as a canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church alone, as do all other local Churches

Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa: The Church does not bow to politicians. Moscow-led church is the only canonical Church in Ukraine.

Archbishop of Cyprus: Decries the Ukrainian situation but offered to mediate a discussion between Moscow and Constantinople

Bulgarian Patriarchate: Interference of the State in Church affairs leads to serious and negative consequences for both.

Polish Orthodox Church: Metropolitan Sawa called for a council of Orthodox ruling hierarchs to discuss this situation.

Estonian Orthodox Church: Condemns Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine.

Greek Archdiocese of America: Supports Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine.

The Orthodox Church of Greece (Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus quoted): “Schismatics, as we know, are not the Church, and communion with them is forbidden by the Divine and holy canons and the Apostolic and Ecumenical Councils. Why then this persistence of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in recognizing schismatics as an autocephalous Church? To provoke schisms and divisions in the one universal and Apostolic Church of Christ?”

Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR): Ceased commemoration of Constantinople, ceased concelebration with Constantinople.

This issue has also rocked the secular geopolitical world.

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