Leila Fadel

Leila Fadel is NPR's international correspondent based in Cairo.

Before joining NPR, she covered the Middle East for The Washington Post. In her role as Cairo Bureau Chief she reported on a wave of revolts and their aftermaths in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria.

Prior to her position as Cairo Bureau Chief for the Post, she covered the Iraq war for nearly five years with Knight Ridder, McClatchy Newspapers and later the Washington Post. Her foreign coverage of the devastating human toll of the Iraq war earned her the George. R. Polk award in 2007.

Leila Fadel is a Lebanese-American journalist who speaks conversational Arabic and was raised in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

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The Two-Way
9:46 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Egyptian Court Orders Prominent Activist Jailed For 5 Years

Relatives and supporters of Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah react after Monday's verdict in a trial over an illegal protest.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 7:56 pm

A Cairo criminal court has sentenced prominent Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah to five years in jail for violating a controversial law that bans unlicensed protests.

Another activist, Ahmed Abdul Rahman, was also sentenced to five years on Monday. Eighteen other people were given three years, and several tried in absentia got 15 years.

As the judge read out his verdict, the courtroom erupted in protest.

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Parallels
6:30 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

ISIS Beheadings In Libya Devastate An Egyptian Village

Relatives of Egyptian Coptic Christians purportedly murdered in Libya by self-proclaimed Islamic State militants mourn for those killed.
Mohamed el-Shahed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 9:09 am

Over the weekend a video emerged apparently showing the Libya branch of the self-proclaimed Islamic State beheading 21 men. All but one were confirmed to be Christian laborers from Egypt.

While this new variation on brutality shocked people around the world, the horror — and sorrow — hit hardest in a small, poor Egyptian town: Residents say 13 of the men were from El-Aour, a hamlet on the Nile River that is a mix of Christians and Muslims.

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Middle East
4:57 pm
Sat February 14, 2015

After Over A Year In Egyptian Prison, Freed Journalist Recalls His Nightmare

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 12:33 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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News
9:09 am
Thu February 12, 2015

After More Than 400 Days In Egyptian Jail, Journalists Released — For Now

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 10:45 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
2:35 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Libya Today: 2 Governments, Many Militias, Infinite Chaos

Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni arrives for a dinner hosted by President Obama last August in Washington. Thinni heads Libya's internationally recognized government, but due to the fighting among rival factions, he is operating from the eastern city of Bayda, hundreds of miles east of the capital, Tripoli.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 2:24 pm

At a recent protest, Libyans in the eastern city of Bayda chanted: "There's no gas, there's no electricity, you've brought us nothing, Thinni."

The protesters were referring to Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, the head of one of Libya's two rival governments. His government is relegated to Bayda, a city of just 250,000 people because it doesn't control the capital in far-away Tripoli, hundreds of miles to the west.

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Middle East
5:02 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Tunisian Craftsman Worries Oud Making Will Die Out

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 7:57 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
4:51 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

After Uprising, A Struggle To Restore Tunisia's Ancient Emblems

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 6:23 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Middle East
5:05 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Egyptian Court Orders Al-Jazeera Journalists To Be Retried

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 7:48 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Parallels
2:08 pm
Sat September 27, 2014

Kidnapped By ISIS, One Woman Tells How She Saved Her Sisters

Originally published on Sun September 28, 2014 11:13 am

In English, the 22-year-old woman's name means life. She's afraid to let us use it for the safety of the hostages that ISIS still holds. She was taken with thousands of other women and children, but she escaped, and now they're searching for her. Her nickname is Dudu.

We meet her and her four younger sisters inside a shipping container that's propped up on cinder blocks and fashioned into a makeshift shelter. It's where her extended family lives now, just outside the northern Kurdish city of Dohuk.

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Parallels
1:14 pm
Sat July 26, 2014

Barrel Bomb Attacks Devastate Iraqi Families

Smoke rises from buildings in May after shelling on the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which is currently held by anti-government fighters. Rights workers say civilians are being killed by government attacks with so-called barrel bombs.
Sadam el-Mehmedy AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 1:44 pm

Human rights groups are accusing the Iraqi government of indiscriminate bombing. Baghdad officials deny that and note they're fighting a Sunni insurgency that commits mass executions and suicide bombings.

Yet rights workers say civilians are being killed by government attacks with so-called barrel bombs — the crude weapons made famous in Syria's current conflict. Barrel bombs are illegal and indiscriminate explosives, packed in things like oil drums or gas cylinders.

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Parallels
5:14 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Common Ground Between Iraq's Rebels May Be Crumbling

People walk by a damaged police station in Mosul on July 15. The militants of the Islamic State are in control of the key city and have acted against former members of Saddam Hussein's regime who helped them drive out the Iraqi army last month.
AP

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 10:36 pm

Abu Wissam speaks to us by phone from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. He asks us to use his nickname to protect him, his family and his missing father before he recounts his father's kidnapping.

The men came on evening of July 3, just before Abu Wissam's family was preparing to break their day-long fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

"There were seven of them and before I knew it they were in our kitchen," he says.

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Iraq
4:28 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Life Under 'The Islamic State': Order In The Shadow Of Terror

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 6:35 pm

Transcript

: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Middle East
5:27 am
Mon July 21, 2014

After An Ultimatum, Christians Flee Iraqi City

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 8:30 am

For the first time since the first century, there are basically no Christians left in the historic Iraqi city of Mosul.

Iraq
12:12 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Extremists Leave A Violent Message In A Small Iraqi Town

Thousands of Iraqis fleeing Sunni extremists fled to the Kurdish city of Erbil, where they lined up here on June 12 at a checkpoint before entering.
EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 10:49 am

A small Sunni Arab town north of Baghdad put up a fight when Sunni Muslim extremists from the so-called Islamic State tried to impose their rule on the town.

The residents lost, and now the town, Zowiya, just outside of Tikrit, is destroyed. More than 200 of its homes have been blown up, and the residents have fled.

The Islamic State leveled the town as a warning to anybody else that dares to fight them.

"My town is gone," says Abu Saad, a businessman in his sixties. "They bombed all our houses. Everything we have is gone."

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Middle East
5:22 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Egyptian Court Sentences Al Jazeera Reporters To Prison

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 11:11 am

Two journalists in Cairo got seven years in prison and third received 10 years. Egypt's government accused them of helping the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Parallels
5:42 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Saddam's Ex-Officer: We've Played Key Role In Helping Militants

Kurdish peshmerga forces look at a checkpoint held by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Iraq's second city, Mosul, on Monday.
Karim Sahib AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 3:00 pm

As they steamrolled across northern Iraq, Sunni militants had important help from an old power in the country — former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and his army.

One retired air force colonel said he is a member of a newly formed military council overseeing Mosul, the large city captured last week by ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and its allies from Sunni Arab armed factions.

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Africa
6:08 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Political Chaos Reigns 3 Years After Moammar Gadhafi's Ouster

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 3:16 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. We are reminded this morning of how difficult the transitions have been in the countries of the Arab Spring. Egypt has had a coup. Serious bloody civil war carries on. And in Libya, two men now claim to be the rightful prime minister. One is a businessman elected by parliament earlier this month with the backing of Islamists.

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Middle East
5:06 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Egyptians Vote Monday And Tuesday For Next President

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 7:23 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And so as Leila just told us, Egyptians appear ready to elect a military man - which in a way seems amazing considering the images we remember from three years ago. At that point, a military dictator, Hosni Mubarak, was removed from power. At that time, it was NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro in Cairo. She was witnessing all of the celebration.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

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Europe
11:29 am
Sat May 17, 2014

Turkish Coal Miner Faces Future After Tragedy

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The mining town of Soma in Western Turkey is reeling after Tuesday's mine explosion. At least 300 people have died there. The government's now winding down the recovery operation, but many townspeople fear more miners remain underground and believe officials are covering up the real number of the dead. The mine has been shut and survivors are asking how they can support their families with no jobs. NPR's Leila Fadel sat down with one of the miners and sent this report.

MURAT YOKUS: (Turkish spoken).

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Middle East
4:56 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Egyptians Fear Power Outages Could Fuel More Unrest

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 12:34 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Sometimes in the evening in Cairo, Egypt, people take a sailboat ride on the Nile. I got to do this once, Renee. It's amazing. The river cuts through the center of the city and you can see the lights of Cairo spreading along each bank. Except, of course, when the lights are out.

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World
5:10 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Egyptian Town Reeling Over Mass Death Sentence

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 6:38 pm

More than 500 people in Matea, Egypt, have been sentenced to death. On one street alone, a juice store owner, a sweets shop owner, a doctor and more than 20 others have been condemned.

Middle East
5:06 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Egyptian Court Sentences 529 Morsi Supporters To Death

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 7:33 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. In Egypt yesterday, a criminal court sentenced 529 people to death over the killing of a police officer. The verdict has been described as unprecedented and humanitarian critics say the two-day trial that preceded it was a sham. Here's NPR's Leila Fadel from Cairo.

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The Two-Way
7:35 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Detention Of Al-Jazeera Journalists Strains Free Speech In Egypt

Mohammed Badr, a cameraman for Al-Jazeera, appears at a court in Cairo, on Dec. 4, 2013. He is among the journalists referred to the Egyptian criminal court Wednesday.
Ahmed Omar AP

Twenty people were referred to criminal court in Egypt today, among them three Al-Jazeera English journalists who have been in prison since Dec. 29. The charges are chilling.

Egyptian authorities say Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy was running a terrorist cell out of a swank hotel in the upscale district of Zamalek. He was aided by four foreigners, according to the charges.

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Middle East
4:55 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Deaths, Arrests Mark 3rd Anniversary Of Egypt's Uprising

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 7:25 am

The third anniversary of Egypt's revolution was marked with violent clashes across the country between pro and anti-government demonstrators. By Sunday morning at least 49 people had been killed and more than 1,000 arrested.

Middle East
10:54 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Three Years Later, Tahrir Protesters Drained And Defeated

Egyptian security forces close Tahrir Square to disperse protesters in December.
Ahmed Abd El Latif AP

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 8:17 pm

Three years after the start of the 2011 revolution, many of the young secular activists who led the protests are behind bars.

Others have gone silent, afraid to speak out as the military and the ousted Muslim Brotherhood are locked in a battle for Egypt itself.

For most of those revolutionaries, this is a dark and bitter time.

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Parallels
2:28 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

The High Price Egyptians Pay For Opposing Their Rulers

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood run from tear gas during clashes with riot police near Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya square on Nov. 22.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 7:11 pm

Mohamed Yousef is a tall, handsome practitioner of kung fu. In fact, he's an Egyptian champion who recently won an international competition.

But a month ago, when he collected his gold medal at the championship in Russia, he posed for a picture after putting on a yellow T-shirt with a hand holding up four fingers.

That's the symbol of Rabaa al-Adawiya, the Cairo square where Egyptian security forces opened fire in August on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Hundreds were killed, including seven of Yousef's friends.

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Middle East
4:24 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Egyptians Hit Streets, Defying Protest Ban

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 10:04 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A new political storm is brewing in Egypt. It's over a law that bans unauthorized protest. Egyptian officials are taking to the airwaves to defend the law, in the face of fierce opposition from secular political activists. NPR's Leila Fadel reports from Cairo.

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Middle East
5:41 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Back To The Future: Calls Grow For A Military Ruler In Egypt

An Egyptian woman kisses a poster of Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi as she arrives at Cairo's Tahrir Square to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war last month. Many are calling for the general to run for president next year, but so far he has remained coy.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:27 pm

For nearly three years Egyptians have battled for a different, and better, future. But the transition has been tumultuous, filled with pitfalls, death and disappointment.

Today, many are ready to settle for a return to the pre-revolution status quo: a strong, military man who can guide Egypt back to stability.

At the Kakao lounge in central Cairo, teenage girls sample chocolates that bear the face of Egyptian military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The chocolates depict Sissi in sunglasses, Sissi saluting and Sissi's face in ornate chocolate frames.

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Parallels
3:07 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Tripoli Zoo Sees Different Kind Of Cage — One With Migrants

Illegal immigrants captured in the Libyan coastal city of Surman are held at a temporary prison in an eastern district of Tripoli, Libya, on Oct. 19.
Hamza Turkia Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 1:34 pm

Gun-toting militiamen man the steel gate that leads into the Tripoli zoo. A sign promises a garden of animals. Inside, there are paths that meander through a maze of cages and animal habitats. Monkeys climb trees; hippos submerge themselves in water and lions lounge in the heat.

Just a few hundred yards away, there's a different kind of cage: Inside there are people — migrants waiting to be deported or to prove they are in Libya legally.

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Parallels
12:10 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

In Libya, The Militias Rule While Government Founders

Militias from towns throughout the country's west parade through Tripoli, Libya, in 2012. Analysts say the country is awash with heavy weapons in the hands of militias divided by tribe, ideology and region. The central government has little power over the gunmen.
Abdel Magid Al Fergany AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 6:51 pm

Zintan, a mountain town in northwestern Libya, is a place of gray and brown buildings, with little infrastructure, about 50,000 people and no central government control.

The Libyan government doesn't provide basic services, not even water. People use wells to provide for themselves. The local council runs all of Zintan's affairs out of a building in the center of town.

At the local militia base on the outskirts of town, we meet the keeper of Saif el-Islam Gadhafi, the son and one-time heir apparent of Moammar Gadhafi.

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