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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Parallels
1:20 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Couple Spends Millions To Save Migrants In The Mediterranean

The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) carries out its first rescue in the Mediterranean in August 2014. The Malta-based private rescue service founded by a wealthy American and his Italian wife has rescued more than 3,000 migrants since its launch in August 2014.
Barcroft Media /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 8:23 am

Christopher Catrambone, a wealthy businessman from Lake Charles, La., docks his boat these days in Malta, the Mediterranean island he now calls home. That boat, called the Phoenix, has been getting outfitted for a series of trips set to begin in May.

But Catrambone and his crew don't intend to use the Phoenix for luxury cruises. He and his Italian wife, Regina, invested about $8 million of their own money to buy the ship and hire a crew for an entirely different purpose: to save lives at sea.

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Parallels
5:25 am
Sat March 14, 2015

Egyptians Fight ISIS Fear-Mongering With Punchlines And Parody

A photo from the wedding of Ahmed Shehata and Shaimaa Daif shows friends of the couple mocking members of the so-called Islamic State. Shehata says he staged the surprise to show his wife that ISIS was "something to laugh at, not to fear."
Courtesy of Ahmed Shehata

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 2:20 pm

One of the self-proclaimed Islamic State's biggest weapons has been its terrifying propaganda. Highly-produced videos of brute violence are its hallmark: a man being burned alive in a cage; Christians being beheaded on a beach in Libya; a child being used to execute a suspected traitor.

But in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, people are responding by laughing rather than cowering.

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The Two-Way
6:46 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 4:56 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
3:30 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 6:09 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
1:00 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Egypt Urges The World To Back Its Retaliation To ISIS Killings

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 4:35 pm

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

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Africa
9:49 am
Sun February 15, 2015

With Oil Fields Under Attack, Libya's Economic Future Looks Bleak

Libya's oil terminals — like the Brega refinery and oil terminal, pictured in March 11, 2014 — are being fought over by militias and by the nation's two rival governments. The conflict is drying up production, and may have a devastating impact on the nation's battered economy.
Abdullah Doma AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 6:57 am

The headquarters of the National Oil Corporation in Tripoli are gleaming, the floors marble, the offices decked out with black leather chairs and fake flowers. It seems far from the fighting going on over oil terminals around the country.

But the man in charge looks at production and knows the future is bleak.

"We cannot produce. We are losing 80 percent of our production," says Mustapha Sanallah, the chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation.

He looks like a typical executive, decked out in a suit and glasses. But beneath his calm veneer, he's worried.

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Middle East
1:57 pm
Sat February 14, 2015

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

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 9:33 am

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News
6:09 am
Thu February 12, 2015

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

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 7:45 am

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

World
1:54 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Putin Receives Warm Royal Welcome In Egypt

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 5:53 pm

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

Parallels
10:59 am
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 11:24 am

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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Europe
1:51 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

New 'Charlie Hebdo' Cover Met With Condemnation, Albeit Measured

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 3:33 pm

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Middle East
2:02 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Tunisian Craftsman Worries Oud Making Will Die Out

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 4:57 am

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

Middle East
1:51 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

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

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 3:23 pm

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

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Middle East
2:05 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Egyptian Court Orders Al-Jazeera Journalists To Be Retried

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 4:48 am

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Middle East
4:47 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Youth Who Led Tunisia's Uprising Frustrated With Pace Of Change

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 8:39 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Parallels
1:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

With A Presidential Vote, Tunisia Seeks A Peaceful Transition

A woman votes in the first round of the Tunisian presidential election on Nov. 23. The election went smoothly, but no candidate won 50 percent of a vote, forcing a runoff between the top two on Sunday.
Hassene Dridi AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:32 pm

The main boulevard in Tunisia's capital, Tunis, is alive with political debate about the two candidates for president in this Sunday's election.

In one tent, campaign workers play music and hand out fliers for Beji Caid Essebsi, an 88-year-old candidate who held posts in the old regime and then served as an interim prime minister after the country's revolution in 2011.

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Parallels
12:47 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Kurdish Officials Worry About Kurds Joining The Islamic State

The Iraqi town of Halabja is dominated by Kurds, the group that has been fighting the Islamic State in northern Iraq. However, some Kurdish residents have been slipping away to join the Islamic State.
Yahya Ahmad Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 3:15 pm

In the northern Iraqi city of Halabja, near the border with Iran, we knock on the door of a 16-year-old boy who disappeared. His family says he lied to them, saying he was going on a picnic with a teenage friend. But they never came home.

"He disappeared in May," says the boy's older sister. "A few days later a letter arrived in his handwriting. It said, 'I'm in Syria. Don't look for me.' "

The boy, like most everyone in this city, is a Kurd, most of whom are Sunni Muslim. He joined the so-called Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim extremist group also known as ISIS.

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Parallels
11:44 am
Wed December 10, 2014

For Yazidi Women, Escaping ISIS Doesn't Mean The Ordeal Is Over

Many Yazidis, like the ones shown here, managed to flee the onslaught of the so-called Islamic State and made their way to relative safety, like this camp near the northern Iraqi border crossing of Zakho. However, some 5,000 Yazidis, many of them women, are still being held hostage by the Islamic State.
EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 6:38 am

Barzan is a young Yazidi man, with sad blue eyes. His mother, five of his sisters and his niece are being held by the so-called Islamic State, taken when the extremist group swept through the Sinjar area of northern Iraq in August.

They are seven of some 5,000 Yazidis still being held by the extremist Sunni group. The Iraqi women are enslaved and sold for sex.

His sixth sister is home with him now. She is just 15 and she was raped. To protect her identity we're only using Barzan's first name.

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Parallels
1:00 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

With Cash And Cachet, The Islamic State Expands Its Empire

The Islamic Youth Council in Derna, in eastern Libya, is among the local militant groups from Egypt to Libya that have reportedly pledged allegiance to the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 5:02 pm

Islamist militant groups from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt to the coast of eastern Libya are pledging allegiance to the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS.

The Sunni extremist group primarily operates in the chaos of Iraq and Syria but is using chameleon-like branding and the draw of cash to get militants who focused on local issues to join their brutal empire.

In an audio recording posted online last week, the head of the self-declared Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, announced that his group is going global.

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Parallels
12:34 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Near The Front Lines In Iraq, An Homage To The White House

Construction workers in Irbil, in the Kurdish north of Iraq, work on Kurdish business tycoon Shihab Shihab's version of the White House.
Leila Fadel NPR

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 6:21 am

There are a lot of American knockoffs in the Kurdish parts of northern Iraq: Burger Queen is Burger King's twin, and instead of Papa John's, people get their pizza at PJ's.

The latest knockoff comes courtesy of Kurdish businessman Shihab Shihab after he decided he'd like to live in the White House. So he's building one for himself, his wife and his child — a mere 50 miles or so from a raging war against the Sunni extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State, or ISIS.

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