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He was born in St. John's, Newfoundland and joined the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve at the age of sixteen. While still in the naval reserve, he obtained a BA in History from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1963; an MA in Military History from Rice University, Houston, Texas, in 1966; and a PhD in Military and Middle Eastern History at King's College London in 1973. Dyer served in the Canadian, American and British naval reserves. He was employed as a Senior Lecturer in War Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, 1973-77. In 1973 he began writing articles for leading London newspapers on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and soon decided to abandon academic life for a full-time career in journalism.
Doctor Dyer writes a column on international affairs which is published in over 175 papers in at least 45 countries. Among these are the Arab News and Al-Jazeerah.info. Older articles are available online at the columnist's official website. His 1985 book War and its namesake television series has been aired on BBC and PBS.
His column was banned from the Jerusalem Post in 1997 by its owner at the time, Conrad Black. Black subsequently pulled the column from numerous Canadian publications he owned. When the Jewish Asper family, owners of Canwest Global, took over ownership of the papers in 2002, they maintained the ban. This had the result that Doctor Dyer's column has recently been unavailable in the more mainstream Canadian newspapers, and consequently completely unavailable in large parts of the country. Smaller media companies continue to publish the column, including alternatively owned newspapers such as Torstar's Hamilton Spectator, Edmonton's Vue Weekly , Vancouver's Georgia Straight and a few local publications of the regional Osprey Media and Black Press (not affiliated with Black), such as Kamloops This Week and the Red Deer Advocate.
Doc Dyer speculates that this is due to his opinions on Israel and both Black's and the Asper family's Likud Party sympathies.