As U.S.-led air strikes against the murderous ISIS (ISIL or Islamic State) prove ineffective, to no surprise of policy analysts, the only effective resisters have been the Iraqi Kurds. (See “Despite months of U.S. air strikes, ISIS now controls a third of Syria” and “Obama’s ISIL strategy reexamined: air strikes ineffective; weak coalition“)

Now, Iraqi Christians are rallying to defend themselves by forming their own militia.

Assyrian Christian militia
Assyrian Christian militia

The UK’s Catholic Herald reports, Feb. 4, 2015, that Christians in Iraq have formed a militia to take back their Nineveh Plains homeland from ISIS.

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The organisation, the Nineveh Plains Protection Units, has more than 3,000 troops serving or awaiting training, and has the backing of the Iraqi Government and the Kurdish Peshmerga.

The force has 500 Assyrian Christian troops stationed in towns such as Alqosh in the Nineveh Plains to defend them from ISIS, with a further 500 being trained and another 3,000 men registered and awaiting training. Their aim is to take back the rest of the Nineveh Plains, a traditionally Christian part of Iraq, which was overrun by ISIS last summer. More than 100,000 Christians are currently displaced in the nearby Kurdish-controlled region of northern Iraq, along with a large number of Yazidis.

The Assyrian forces are allied to the Iraqi Army and Kurds but do not take orders from either, and their aim is to establish an administrate area for the Assyrians and Yazidis, as well as other minorities such as Shabaks and Mandeans.

The groups are funded by members of the Assyrian diaspora, which is mainly concentrated in the United States, Australia and Sweden, and they are being trained by an American security company. However they are short of funds. British-Assyrians are currently awaiting a response from the Foreign Office on whether it is legal or not to financially support the group.

John Michael, a British-Assyrian, said: “This is our last stand, if this fails then Christianity will be finished in Iraq.”

Nineveh in today's Iraq

Nineveh was an ancient Mesopotamian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River. It was the capital of the short-lived Assyrian Empire (911 BC-609 BC) and the largest city in the world for some 50 years.

Its end was strange, sudden, tragic. In 612 BC, after a bitter period of civil war in Assyria, Nineveh was sacked by a coalition of former subject peoples — the Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Chaldeans, Scythians and Cimmerians. In fulfillment of Nahum’s prophecy (Nahum 1:14; 3:19; 2:6–11), God made “an utter end of the place” — it became a “desolation.” Today, the ruins of Nineveh are across the river from the city of Mosul, in Iraq.

From the Nineveh Plains Protection Units‘ website Restore Nineveh Now:

To make Restore Nineveh Now work, to safeguard existing Assyrian and Yezidi lands and to take back what ISIS has plundered, we must build a native defence force. This force, called the Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU), will be composed mainly of Assyrians who have already volunteered to fight ISIS. Thanks to the work of the Assyrian Democratic Movement in Iraq, this force is already being organized, trained and equipped.

Restore Nineveh Now is calling on the US and the international community to immediately support the Assyrian Democratic Movement as it expands the strength and size of the NPU, deploying it throughout the towns and villages still under Assyrian and Yezidi control. Restore Nineveh Now is also calling on all Assyrians worldwide to help fund the training, arming and deploying of the NPU.

But to grow the NPU to the size and strength needed to take on ISIS, we need everyone’s help. We need your social media help; we need your political muscle; and we need your financial backing. ISIS is not going to be defeated and the Nineveh Plain Province established through mere words or demonstrations.

To contribute to Restore Nineveh Now, please click on the secure Paypal link, here. Any amount, no matter how modest, is welcome.

See also:


Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.

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