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February 27, 2012

A U.S. Libya veteran plans joining Syria's war

February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012

Before Libya's revolution, Mathew Van Dyke was a freelance journalist and film maker, residing in the United States. After Gaddafi launched his bloody repression campaign, Van Dyke traveled to Libya to join the fight. Shortly afterwards, he was held in Notorious Abo Salim prison for six months; he was freed when Tripoli fell to rebel forces, and then finally got his chance to fight against Gaddafi forces in Libya's final battles.
After returning to the U.S., now Van Dyke is considering joining the fight in Syria. Here is the Arab Digest's interview with Van Dyke:

- As a freedom fighter who was imprisoned and fought in Libya, do you draw similarities with Syria's revolutions?

The two revolutions have some similarities, but many differences. The freedom fighters in Syria are not as unified, and perhaps never will be as unified as in Libya because of the sectarian divisions that exist in Syria that don't exist in Libya. The uprising in Libya was larger and had more support of the population, and more army defections. The strategy of the SNC is much different than the NTC in that they have advocated protest over war. The lack of unity within and between the political and militant wings of the uprising against Assad is a serious problem that is causing the conflict to drag on for a long time, and will result in more casualties. However, the revolution in Syria is a one for freedom and should be supported. Support will be more forthcoming if the SNC and FSA can better unite the opposition against Assad and work together so that the international community knows who they are supporting and how best to do it.

- Should freedom fighters like you, join the revolution in Syria, or have they already?

Everyone has to make those decisions for themselves. I know that some Libyans and other foreign fighters are in Syria helping, but their numbers are surely very small.

- Are you thinking of joining the Free Syrian Army?

Yes, I am considering it.

PS. The Arab Digest invites readers to post their questions below for a Q & A session with Van Dyke before his possible departure to Syria.


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