Like Peshmerga for Kurds, Assyrians finally forming their own defense force in Iraq: The ‘Dwekh Nawsha’ military force
By: Ashur Sada
At the height and peak of the Assyrian empire, Assyrians had the strongest and most advanced army in the ancient world. It crushed enemies with ease and put Assyria on the map and in history books.
Fast forward to the Assyrians of today, the direct heir to the ancient Assyrians, and you will find a different picture. Having converted to Christianity some 2000 years ago, Assyrians of today are all about peace and rarely resort to the use of force. This may be a good thing from a biblical point of view but not so much for our survival.
The recent ISIS takeover of Mosul and various other Assyrian towns in the Nineveh Plain has changed all of that. Or at least we hope it has. The new reality requires that Assyrians be alert, on the defense, if not all out offensive.
Given the events of the last few months, I and many Assyrians no longer have much trust in the Iraqi army or the Pashmarga (Kurdish militia) Both abandoned our people and villages when it mattered the most, letting ISIS and the terrorists take over, causing all the death and destruction that ensued. Main issue here is the lack of nationalism and loyalty amongst these armies and militias. A Kurd is not loyal or cares enough to protect Falluja from falling to the terrorists. Nor does a Shi’tte solider care about Alqosh from falling to ISIS. To a Shi’tte solider for example, the Nineveh Plain region is not nearly as significant enough as the cities of Karbala and Najaf in the south. To a Kurdish soldier, guarding the Assyrian town of Qaraqosh is not nearly as important as guarding a town in the province of Sulaimaniya.
Therefore, now, more than ever before, it is important to start forming our own Assyrian defense force to protect our people and villages. While I don’t mind working side by side with the Iraqi and Kurdish army, I simply don’t trust them to protect the Assyrians and their towns and villages to their full capability. In the last few weeks, we have been seeing the formation of a new Assyrian defense force. It is called “Dwekh Nawsha” (“self sacrificing” in Assyrian) (in Arabic: دويخ نوشا) and it is giving us some hope. A hope that our people, towns and villages can one day be protected by our very own people and not rely on another army that can’t be relied on
For us in the west, we have to always do our best to support and fund such a defense force. It is our only true hope of keeping our name and presence alive and well in the homeland.
Politically, such an Assyrian defense force should be independent of the Iraqi army or the Pashmarga and its sole purpose would be to protect our people and towns in the Nineveh Plain. If it falls under the Kurdish or Iraqi army control, it will not have the same influence and clout as it would being independent and working for the Assyrians first. We are not here to separate the Assyrians from the rest of Iraq. But given the reality of how things are in the country, sometimes you have to put yourself first before the country for the sake of your people and the country at the same time.
A modest start for an Assyrian army but with one massive future hope for our people back home.