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Matthew VanDyke
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Founder of Sons of Liberty International, Combat veteran and former POW (2011 Libyan Revolution), International Security Analyst, Award-winning Documentary Filmmaker
Founder of Sons of Liberty International, Combat veteran and former POW (2011 Libyan Revolution), International Security Analyst, Award-winning Documentary Filmmaker

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"Since its creation in 2014, SOLI has helped form, train, and to certain extent equip the two largest Assyrian militias in northern Iraq fighting against ISIS" http://buff.ly/2pzd0kX via @BrookingsInst #Soli #Iraq #Syria

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Sons of Liberty International (#SOLI) is the subject of a research report from The Brookings Institution about the emerging field of "combat charities." SOLI is the oldest and most established combat charity in the world. Researcher Pavol Kosnáč has researched this innovative field for Brookings, and summarizes the findings of his research in this paper (the full report is also available for free from The Brookings Institution). https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/04/11/combat-charities-in-the-west-and-their-jihadi-twin/

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In this powerful video, Iraqi Assyrian #Christians  tell of the day they fled from #ISIS  in #Iraq , their pride in their Iraqi #Assyrian  Christian forces that Sons of Liberty International ( #SOLI ) has been training/advising/supplying, and their hopes for the future. These are Iraqi Christians in their own words, so please share this video on social media and with your friends so their voices will be heard!

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I will be providing updates, photos, videos, and articles about Sons of Liberty International (SOLI) as a contributor on TheBlaze.com. Glenn Beck, TheBlaze, and their audience have been very good to #SOLI  since the early days of our organization, and we are excited to be providing them with content about the struggle of Iraq's Assyrian  #Christian  community, the fight against #ISIS , and updates from the front lines about the great work that the US military veterans volunteering for SOLI are doing. We highly recommend that our supporters visit TheBlaze.com, not only for our content but for all the great articles, radio shows, and online television programs that they produce.

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Today is the anniversary of D-Day, when America began a long and difficult fight to save Europe from tyranny. My grandfather, US Army Sergeant Aaron Steltz, was there. As his landing craft approached the shores of Normandy, another one nearby was hit by enemy fire and exploded. His survived. Some of his photos appear in this article. #DDay  

Yesterday and today I am at the YPO Pacific EDGE 2016 Conference, being held at UCLA in Los Angeles. I spoke yesterday on a panel titled Faith and Terrorism, along with Shai Feldman and Maajid Nawaz and moderated by Jeffrey Goldberg. This morning I am on a panel that focuses on Mass Shootings, Terrorist Attaks, and Increasing Domestic Assaults with Dr. Khalil Muhammad and Anand Giridharadas and moderated by Nancy Aossey. Thanks to all the organizers, attendees, and fellow panelists for such a great conference. #ypopacedge

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Sons of Liberty International (SOLI) provided more than half the funding for the construction of the Nineveh Plain Protection Units military base in  #Iraq ,  as you'll see in episode 7 of the History Channel's  #HistoryNow  series about our work. Both the military base that we helped build and our training of the  #NPU  were very important factors in the NPU's successful effort to persuade the Iraqi government to provide them with salaries and other support. Officials from Baghdad visited the NPU base and were so impressed by it and by the NPU force (trained by SOLI) that is located there, that they agreed to provide Iraqi government support to the NPU. The base and the trained NPU force is attracting additional support from other sources as well, which could lead to major developments and progress for the NPU. The NPU military base was designed by NPU commander General Behnam Aboosh, a brilliant and hard-working  #Assyrian  hero. This is an extraordinary achievement for Assyrians and their efforts to create military forces to fight ISIS and provide long-term security for the region, and we are honored to be part of it. It is an extraordinary step forward in the defense of  #Assyrians  and Christianity in Iraq, and in the fight against ISIS. The success of our work with the NPU has proven that SOLI's approach to training, advising, and supporting local forces works, and that  #SOLI  is achieving remarkable and historic results. The mission in Iraq continues as we are currently training another Assyrian  #Christian  force, the Nineveh Plain Forces (NPF) near the front lines and within walking distance of ISIS positions. We look forward to further assisting the  #NPF  and the NPU in the fight against  #ISIS  and in their efforts to build sustainable forces that will ensure the survival of the Assyrian people and Christianity in Iraq.

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Sons of Liberty International ( #SOLI ) held an Easter egg hunt for  #Assyrian  orphans and IDPs in #Iraq . SOLI founder Matthew VanDyke and the team of SOLI trainers placed candy in approximately 300 plastic  #Easter  eggs, which they then hid in the Saint Fadi Garden in Al Qosh. Around 30 #Christian  children attended the event and had a great time, and in addition to keeping the plastic Easter eggs with the candy inside, they were each given a chocolate Easter bunny. This follows SOLI's Christmas 2015 event in which we purchased and gave more than 6,000 Christmas gifts in 1,200 gift bags to 1,045 Assyrian families (over 3,500 children!) in the Ashti 2 refugee camp in Ankawa, Iraq. SOLI is committed to helping the Assyrian Christians of Iraq by supporting their military forces, but also by providing humanitarian aid and events for the civilian population, especially the children.

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Episode 6 of the History Channel's HistoryNow series focuses on the danger faced by Sons of Liberty International ( #SOLI ) trainers in #Iraq  when our training of the Nineveh Plain Forces ( #NPF ) is interrupted by rocket fire from #ISIS . Then the team heads to the range with the NPF to make them into better marksmen as they prepare to take part in the offensive against ISIS. (This episode had previously been temporarily taken down so that a minor edit could be made and has now been re-released at this different YouTube link. Please share this new link on Facebook, it is one of the best episodes so far).

Sons of Liberty International ( #SOLI ) recently appeared in the supplement "V" that is included in the Grupo Vocento newspapers in (approximately 3 million readers). Journalist Miguel Gutiérrez-Garitano traveled to #Iraq  to report on the war and spent some time visiting our team that is training and advising the Nineveh Plain Forces ( #NPF ) near the front line. Even if you can't read Spanish (Google translator is an option), check out Miguel Gutiérrez-Garitano's excellent photographs. http://www.ideal.es/internacional/201603/21/tiros-contra-yihadistas-20160320192821.html
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