Threatened with extinction by ISIS, Iraqi’s Christians have started to form a militia to fight back. According to the WSJ, the country’s Christians have long sought support from the Iraqi government for a “regional guard” but were refused. Now they are trying a different tactic:
Snubbed by the central government in Baghdad, party officials pressed their demands over the past weeks with the Kurdistan Regional Government, whose semiautonomous region in the north abuts the Nineveh plains. The Kurds offered the training facility outside Kirkuk, a base once run by the U.S. military to train Kurdish regional guards, Kurdish and Christian officials said.About 500 recruits, mostly Assyrians, will be trained this month but it is uncertain who will fund and equip them in the long term. Christians here are divided about having their own militia. Patriarch Louis Sako, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, which many Assyrians follow, has said he disapproves.
The militia’s fate is uncertain; it’s not clear they will get adequate training or funding they need. They are hoping to receive some of the money the U.S. government has budgeted to give to groups fighting ISIS, but that remains to be seen.Some of the oldest Christian communities in the world exist in the Middle East. They are fighting for their survival—now quite literally.