Iraq’s Christian populations aren’t just sitting ducks anymore. For the last 2 years they’ve been building a Christian Army called the Babylon Brigade to fight against ISIS and defend Christian areas.
According to the BBC, they are now over 100,000 in number and are funded by the Iraqi government:
BBC – A group of Christians in Iraq have formed their own militia to protect people from the so-called Islamic State group. The leader of the Babylon Brigade says they were left with no choice but to take up arms when IS fighters targeted Christians.
There’s a striking picture on the wall. It shows an untarmacked road, scorched by sunlight, leading to a small village with a mountain range behind it. And all along the side of the road there are crosses every 100m – taller even than lamp posts.
“Christian village,” a guard mumbles. “Near Mosul.”
We are in the Baghdad headquarters of the Iraq Christian Resistance, Babylon Brigade. They are a militia, although they prefer the phrase popular mobilisation unit. Whatever the language, about 30 of these outfits have sprung up in the past couple of years and between them they have 100,000 armed volunteers. They were formed to block the advance of the so-called Islamic State group when it swept through north and west Iraq in 2014, even threatening Baghdad. When the Iraqi national army collapsed the militias stood firm.
The militias have persuaded the central government to cover their expenses and as a result they are, taken altogether, receiving about $1.4bn (£1bn) a year. For a militia leader like Kildani it’s more than $600 (£450) per man per month.
This is really fantastic news. The Middle East needs many more Babylon Brigades!
In fact, this is exactly who the US should be partnering with these to defeat ISIS. We could help them increase their number, arm them, and not have sold out our values in the process.
Here’s a video from about a year ago on the group by France 24: