Alice Fordham

Alice Fordham is an NPR International Correspondent based in Beirut, Lebanon.

In this role, she reports on Lebanon, Syria and many of the countries throughout the Middle East.

Before joining NPR in 2014, Fordham covered the Middle East for five years, reporting for The Washington Post, the Economist, The Times and other publications. She has worked in wars and political turmoil but also amid beauty, resilience and fun.

In 2011, Fordham was a Stern Fellow at the Washington Post. That same year she won the Next Century Foundation's Breakaway award, in part for an investigation into Iraqi prisons.

Fordham graduated from Cambridge University with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics.

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Parallels
4:43 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Iraq's Artists Defy Extremists With Bows, Brushes And A Low Profile

The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra performs in Baghdad. The concert was promoted by word of mouth to avoid being targeted by bombs.
Graham Smith NPR

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 7:00 pm

It's a hot night in Baghdad, and the national theater is packed with people who are here to see the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra.

They're fanning themselves with programs that show conductor Karim Wasfi, a striking man with thick eyebrows and a pointed beard, playing the cello. Tonight, he'll be conducting for the first time in more than a year.

Iraq has been in the headlines lately, with extremists taking over parts of the country, American airstrikes, the militias and the politics.

But the country was once a sophisticated center for learning and the arts.

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Iraq
9:57 am
Sun September 14, 2014

U.S. Call To Fight Militants Stirs Bitter Memories For Iraq's Sunnis

Iraqi troops in Anbar province in June. It's unclear whether Sunnis will join the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 11:56 am

If President Obama's plan to battle Islamic State militants by bringing Iraq's Sunnis on board to fight sounds oddly familiar, that's because it is.

When the U.S. faced a raging insurgency by Sunni militants — then called al-Qaida in Iraq — seven years ago, it recruited local Sunni leaders and paid their tribesmen to fight against those militants.

The effort, dubbed the Awakening, quieted the threat — for a while. But the local leaders who led the tribesmen back then say that this time, the U.S. might have trouble convincing Sunnis to rejoin the fight.

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World
4:16 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

New Iraqi Government Still Faces ISIS Threat

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 6:40 pm

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

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Parallels
10:45 am
Sat September 6, 2014

Fears Of Sectarian Violence Grow In Baghdad

A car bomb exploded on Saadoun street in Baghdad on Thursday, killing seven people in a mainly Shia area of Iraq's capital, Voice of America reported. Though violence in the city hasn't reached the levels of 2006, residents worry sectarian conflicts may rise again.
Hadi Mizban AP

Originally published on Sat September 6, 2014 3:04 pm

The air in the Baghdad morgue is thick with the smell of death. There are perhaps two dozen corpses in black plastic bags lying around in the sweltering heat. One of them is burned and has its face exposed, white teeth stark against charred skin.

"The crisis began in June," says Zaid al Yousif, the director of the Medical Legal Center, which houses the morgue. "The number of victims in June increased, double to triple." Many of those bodies have marks of trauma, including blunt injuries, he says.

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Iraq
4:31 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Months After Atrocities In Tikrit, Iraqi Parents Demand Answers

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 7:04 pm

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

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Middle East
4:12 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Rebels Storm Key Border Crossing Between Syria And Israel

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 7:28 pm

The Syrian civil war has flared up in the south of the country, near the Israeli border. A group of Islamist fighters have now captured a border crossing between Syria and Israel on the Golan Heights, which has long been monitored by United Nations peacekeeping forces.

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

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Middle East
6:05 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Latest Gaza Cease-Fire Is Set To Expire Monday

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 8:11 am

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

Middle East
8:31 am
Sun August 17, 2014

Another Front In Mideast Conflict: Fishing Rights In The Mediterranean

When boats come in to the Gaza city harbor, the fish are small and few. An Israeli blockade keeps Gazan boats within 3 nautical miles from shore, where there are few fish to catch.
Alice Fordham NPR

Originally published on Sun August 17, 2014 11:39 am

Down at the Gaza city harbor, a little after dawn, merchants wait with horses and carts and scales to weigh the morning's catch of fish.

But when they come in, the fish are small and few. One man scoops his catch up by the handful, tiny fish slipping through his fingers. Even the cats look hungry.

One of the merchants, Mohammad Belah, tells me that a few years ago, it wasn't like this.

"A fisherman used to bring 100 or 200 boxes in the past, but now if he's lucky he brings 10 or 20 boxes," he says.

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Parallels
4:32 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Gaza Students Wonder When Their Schools Will Reopen

Displaced Palestinian Emada Al Attar, 23, holds her 16 day-old baby boy Anous in a classroom where they sleep in a U.N. school where the family is taking refuge during the war, in Gaza City, Gaza Strip on Aug. 8.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 8:02 pm

There's clamor and hustle outside the Western Gaza City Educational Directorate. A month late, this year's graduating high school students are getting their high school diplomas.

Usually, there's a little ceremony. But today, they're just clustering around a window while the certificates are handed out. So many education workers are injured or have lost homes that only about a third of them showed up for work.

Nonetheless, the students' joy feels loud and luminous in a city numbed by war.

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Iraq
4:59 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Introducing Iraq's New Appointee For Prime Minister

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 9:14 pm

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

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Parallels
4:40 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Gaza's Casualties Of War Include Its Historic Mosques

The Omari mosque was badly damaged in the recent fighting in the territory. In the foreground are the remains of Qurans at the mosque, which dates back centuries.
Alice Fordham NPR

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 10:44 am

Because of the debris, you can't go through the door anymore to get into the Omari mosque. You have to climb over a pile of rubble and through a hole in the wall, followed by a surging crowd of kids.

The ceiling of the low building in the Jabaliya area, near Gaza City, is made of vaulted stone arches – except where the sunlight comes streaming through a hole torn in the roof and lands on a pile of ripped-up pages of Arabic calligraphy. It's what remains of the mosque's Qurans. Most were destroyed; some burned. It took Gazans three days to dig out the remains.

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Parallels
5:48 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

The Man Who Might Be Iraq's Next Prime Minister

Iraqi lawmaker Haidar al-Abadi, shown here in 2010, was appointed Monday to become Iraq's prime minister. However, Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister since 2006, has so far refused to step down.
Karim Kadim AP

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 6:33 pm

Haider al-Abadi is an affable Shiite politician who has been close to the center of power in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. He may soon be the most important political figure in the troubled country.

Iraqi President Fuad Masum, whose position has traditionally been ceremonial, on Monday nominated Abadi to be prime minister, a job that requires him to form a new coalition government based on parliamentary elections that were held in April.

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Middle East
7:51 am
Sat August 9, 2014

Without A Truce, Strikes Resume In Gaza

Originally published on Sat August 9, 2014 11:40 am

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

Middle East
4:05 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

As Cease-Fire Reaches Its Close, Fire Reignites In Gaza

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 6:57 pm

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

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Middle East
4:33 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

With Gazans' Eyes On Cairo, Hamas Hopes For Leverage

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 7:43 pm

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Iraq
5:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Militants In Iraq Seek Control Of Precious Weapon: Dams, Waterways

Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Mughdeed talks to the men he commands to protect the Mosul dam, a critical piece of infrastructure that supplies water and electricity. The dam is now close to the front line with the militants of the Islamic State in Iraq.
Alice Fordham NPR

Originally published on Sat August 2, 2014 6:41 am

In the searing heat of northern Iraq, among its dry, scrubby landscape, there's a surreal sight: a wide, shimmering blue lake, held back by the concrete and steel of a dam. It's on the Tigris River, near the city of Mosul.

Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Mughdeed, the commander of the soldiers guarding this dam, says even a small attack on the dam could have major repercussions: flooding, power cuts.

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Parallels
6:26 am
Tue July 29, 2014

For Iraqis In Crisis, Dividing The Country Seems A Poor Solution

A volunteer at a Christian church in Qosh, Iraq, loads aid onto a handcart Monday for delivery to displaced Shiites who are sheltering there.
Alice Fordham NPR

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 7:35 am

The muscular farmer sits in the basement kindergarten of the church, perched on a tiny chair intended for a child. He and his family are spending the holiday here, after being forced to flee from extremists.

"Our village is more than 300 years old," Ahmed Ali says of Shreikhan, near Mosul, "and we never had any such problems."

For most Muslims around the world, Eid is a time for gifts, feasts and visiting relatives. But for him and others in a militant-controlled swath of northwest Iraq, it's a strange and unhappy holiday.

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Middle East
4:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

For Islamic State, Victories In Iraq Mean Momentum In Syria

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 7:40 pm

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

Parallels
12:55 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Syrian President Issues New Stamps, But Can't Deliver The Mail

One of the three stamps issued recently to commemorate Syrian leader Bashar Assad's presidential election victory.
Via Syrian Arab News Agency

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 4:06 pm

As the Middle East froths with blood — from Iraq to Syria to the Gaza Strip — a commemorative set of three stamps depicting Syrian President Bashar Assad may not seem hugely relevant.

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Iraq
4:44 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Amid Bloodshed, Brotherhood: Links Forged From Iraq's Game Of Rings

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 10:39 pm

In Iraq, a Ramadan game called Mheibbis brings even Sunnis and Shiites together in peaceful competition. A ring game traditionally played between neighborhoods during the holy month, Mheibbis has offered men the opportunity to break Baghdad's tension and offer messages of unity and brotherhood — even between rival sects.

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