Regime change leads to chaos & persecution of Christians – senior Russian cleric to RT

The policy of regime change “in the name of democracy” gives terrorists control over vast territories and makes Christians flee and suffer, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev told RT during his Washington visit.

One of the top clerics of the Russian Orthodox Church and head of External Church Relations, Hilarion Alfeyev, spoke to an RT correspondent after the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, which took place in the US capital.

The forum gathered representatives of more than 130 countries to testify on the persecution of Christians around the world.

Alfeyev noted that events in some states have “one and the same scenario,” in which an existing regime is accused of various crimes and the leader is ousted for being ‘undemocratic.’

“The regime is overthrown in the name of democracy, but instead of democracy… political chaos comes,” he told RT.

This allows terrorists to seize territory, jeopardizing Christian communities and causing people to flee as they are persecuted in their own land.

“This is precisely the situation that is used by terrorists to gain control of huge territories. This happened in Iraq, this happened in Libya,” he said, adding that great amounts of people have left those countries and many Christians there are still in danger.

“In Iraq under Saddam Hussein there were 1.5 million Christians, now there is probably one tenth of this quantity left and even those who are left are in constant danger. In Libya there was a strong Christian community, there is practically none of it left,” he said.

He added that he does not support any particular regime, but they can maintain “certain balances” between various religious and ethnic groups. The destruction of these balances leads to “tragedy for the Christians of Middle East.”

“It is largely due to the actions of previous administrations of the United States that the situation in the Middle East developed in this deplorable direction,” he said.

In 2003, the US-led invasion of Iraq started under a false pretext to eliminate weapons of mass destruction allegedly possessed by leader Saddam Hussein. The weapons were never found, but Hussein was deposed and later executed. Following the invasion, Iraq suffered a growing insurgency, which led to the spread of terrorism, and eventually, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), which has been particularly ruthless in their persecution of religious minorities, including Christians.

The UN-authorized intervention in Libya in 2011 led to the overthrow and murder of the country’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi. Libya still does not have a unified government, and is torn apart by rival groups and radical jihadists.

Alfeyev also had the opportunity to speak with US Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the meeting in Washington.

“If there are several anti-terrorist coalitions which are fighting against one another, then the problem will remain and this is precisely what terrorists want. If the countries [are] able to set their political differences aside in order to act as allies in one anti-terrorist coalition, then it would be possible to win over terrorism,” he told Pence.

He also said that the Russian Orthodox Christian leadership supports Russia-US cooperation in restoring peace to Syria.

When asked why the US media does not pay much attention to the persecution of Christians, he said that many of them “are in the hands of those in opposition to the current President of the country.”

Alfeyev noted that he was rather surprised by the level of “anti-Trump hysteria” in the US media.