As the Islamic State continues to control Iraq’s two “capitals of Christianity,” American combat experts have taken it upon themselves to train Christian militia fighters to not only defend the remaining Christian villages from ISIS, but eventually go on the offensive to recapture the historic Christian lands of Mosul and Qaraqosh.
Sons of Liberty International, a group headed by Baltimore-native Matthew VanDyke, a renowned Libyan revolutionary and former prisoner of war, has been operating in northern Iraq since last December. The organization’s main focus is training recruits in the Nineveh Plains Protection Unit, a militia made up of a couple thousand Christians, and prepare them to protect the Nineveh Plains from the brutal ISIS extremists.
“The purpose of the NPU is beyond just fighting ISIS,” VanDyke told The Christian Post in a Thursday interview. “It is not just a short-term project. They have their eye on being a security force for their region from now on, and being able to demonstrate to their people that they will be safe and that they can stay in the country and Christianity can survive in Iraq.”
SOLI, whose efforts are solely funded by public donations, also provides the NPU with frontline consulting, advising on media relations, supplies, and has also bridged a relationship between the Christian militia and the U.S. State Department.
The 35-year-old VanDyke further explained that his organization has already trained over 330 NPU recruits in its first three-week basic training course, which ended in February, and hosted the camp under the safety of a Kurdish peshmerga training facility.
Although the Kurdish peshmerga have become known for providing protection to religious minorities within the Kurdish borders, VanDyke asserted that the peshmerga is not going to fight and die for “Arab” land and have not been any help in defending the Nineveh Plains from ISIS. He further added that is why the NPU, which is the strongest and best trained among the three Christian militias in the region, has its eyes set on becoming a permanent regional security force.
“There is no other force in Iraq that had such high morale,” VanDyke explained. “They really have the raw talent and ability to become the best infantry force in the country. Mostly, the Iraqi Army doesn’t really fight because most of the guys there just collect a paycheck. The peshmerga don’t fight because none of them are going to die for an Arab.”
Since SOLI’s last training camp ended in February, VanDyke took time to return to the United States to organize, recruit and fundraise for the company. After holdups with the NPU securing another training location and SOLI’s lack of funding, VanDyke said the organization has finally received the donations needed to start the next training session in May.
“We have decided to crowdfund the war against ISIS. We give people around the world an opportunity to have a tangible impact on fighting ISIS, rather than just retweeting something or clicking ‘like’ on Facebook,” VanDyke said. “They can make a donation to the fight and have their dollars actually contribute to bringing about the end to ISIS.”
Click here for more.
SOURCE: The Christian Post