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Matthew VanDyke
Matthew VanDyke is an international security analyst, media commentator, public speaker, and founder of Sons of Liberty International, a security firm that provides free military advising and training to communities threatened by terrorism.
VanDyke graduated summa cum laude from UMBC with a degree in Political Science, and later received his master's degree in Security Studies from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He worked in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia for years as a documentary filmmaker (mostly traveling by motorcycle) and filmed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2011, Matthew VanDyke fought against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in the Libyan Revolution as an American freedom fighter and soldier in the National Liberation Army. He was wounded and captured by Gaddafi's forces and spent nearly 6 months as a prisoner of war in two of Libya's most notorious prisons, before escaping from prison and returning to combat until the end of the war. His experiences are the subject of the documentary film Point and Shoot, which won the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival Best Documentary Award.
In 2012, VanDyke traveled to Syria to make a documentary film about the war, Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution. The film has been shown at hundreds of film festivals and has won over 100 awards.
VanDyke founded the security firm Sons of Liberty International (SOLI) in 2014 after two of his friends, journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, were beheaded by ISIS. SOLI, which operates on a non-profit business model and is supported entirely by contributions from the public through SOLI's website at, is currently providing free military advising and training to Iraqi Christians fighting ISIS.

Entries by Matthew VanDyke

In Egypt, Have the People Overthrown Themselves?

(16) Comments | Posted July 6, 2013 | 10:52 AM

As someone who has devoted the past two and a half years of his life to the Arab Spring, having fought in Libya and now helping in Syria with the hope that their February 17 and March 15 revolution anniversaries will one day be as important...

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The Long, Hard Slog That Is Syria

(18) Comments | Posted January 8, 2013 | 3:34 PM

Standing on the front lines in Aleppo you can't just smell the gunpowder, you can smell the depression. It hangs in the air far thicker than smoke, and with far worse effects. The fighters have a hard time seeing through it but they push forward anyway, having no choice.


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After Aleppo

(2) Comments | Posted August 8, 2012 | 10:35 PM

A force of 20,000 Syrian troops have encircled Aleppo and are preparing to retake it from Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels. Assad's army has softened their targets with barrages of artillery, aerial bombardment, and strafing by helicopter gunships for weeks.

The men of the FSA who volunteered for...

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Why Islamists Lost in Libya and Why Nobody Should Be Surprised

(27) Comments | Posted July 20, 2012 | 2:41 PM

Naysayers and second-guessers of NATO intervention in Libya, and of possible intervention in Syria, take your seats at the back of the room. Analysts and pundits who recklessly spread the uninformed opinion that the Muslim Brotherhood would claim victory in the elections, submit your resignation letters.

Those who have...

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The Wonderful Disaster That Is Egypt's Presidential Election

(3) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 3:13 PM

The lapdog of a brutal dictator versus an Islamist in Egypt's presidential elections sure makes our Presidential elections look boring.

Egypt, the heart of the Arab Spring and the catalyst for subsequent revolutions in Libya and Syria, will know in two weeks which of these ridiculous paths the...

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How Osama bin Laden Changed My Life

(10) Comments | Posted May 1, 2012 | 3:36 PM

I didn't learn that Osama bin Laden was dead until August 24, 2011, nearly four months after he was killed. I had just escaped from Abu Salim prison in Libya a few hours earlier and was talking to my girlfriend on the phone for the first time in...

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How to Run a Revolution: The Success of Libya and the Failures of Syria

(3) Comments | Posted April 17, 2012 | 9:15 AM

In the past few months the Syrian rebels have gone from manning checkpoints in the Damascus suburbs to being routed from Homs and Idlib. Horrific videos have been smuggled out of Syria that rival what I saw when I was fighting in the Libyan civil war. Journalists are...

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Why Islamists Winning Elections Is Good for Democracy and the War on Terrorism

(92) Comments | Posted April 2, 2012 | 6:36 PM

Journalists, pundits and politicians seem increasingly obsessed with fears that Islamists winning elections in the wake of successful Arab Spring uprisings will prove detrimental to democracy, regional security, and the War on Terrorism.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Having spent years studying and living in the Arab world,...

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