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
5:53 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Angry At Shiite-Led Government, Sunnis Are Loath To Help Calm Iraq

A leading Sunni tribal chief, Sheik Abu Ali al-Jubbouri says he misses former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who favored his sect.
Hussein Malla AP

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 9:30 pm

Iraq is looking increasingly like a state partitioned along sectarian lines. Shiites control the south, but Sunni militants are sweeping through the north and west — and they're doing it with help from local Sunni populations.

Interviews with Sunni leaders show how hard it will be to build the kind of trust needed to put the country back together under one functioning authority.

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Iraq
5:12 am
Tue June 24, 2014

In Iraq, Shiites Take Up Arms Against Sunni Militants

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. You know, years ago I was talking with a man in Baghdad. It was amid the chaos and the warfare following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. And the Iraqi man said it took us 35 years to get this way and it will take 35 years to change.

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Iraq
4:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Maliki's Power Base Crumbles As Iraq Slips Into Chaos

Will Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki be able to unite Iraq's various factions, or will he be forced out?
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 8:18 pm

Tens of thousands of Iraqi men brandishing assorted weapons are responding to a call to arms. They invoke the Mahdi, a figure from Shiite Muslim prophecies, as they march in a recent parade in Sadr City, a Shiite suburb of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.

"We volunteer to protect our dear country," says Hazem al-Shemmari.

When Sunni militants took over parts of Iraq this month, Shiite religious leaders called for volunteers to fight back.

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Iraq
4:11 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Even Amid Onslaught, Hints That Violence In Iraq Could Escalate

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 6:23 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Middle East
6:08 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Iraq's Army Is Ineffective Against Islamist Insurgents

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 9:30 am

There are reports of Iraqi government troops just fleeing, dropping their weapons and shedding their uniforms. The U.S. spent a lot of time and money training Iraqi forces.

Iraq
5:22 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Islamist Militants Gain Ground In Northern Iraq

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 7:41 am

Sunni Islamist militants have seized control of the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit and appear to be preparing an assault on Baghdad. Americans fought and died trying to prevent that from happening.

Iraq
4:18 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Half A Million Iraqis Flee As Militants Move South

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 6:24 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. In Iraq, swaths of the country of fallen to Islamist militants. They took the largest city of Mosul earlier this week. Now they're heading south. Today there are reports the militants have taken the city of Tikrit, an hour's drive from the capital, Baghdad. NPR's Alice Fordham has the latest.

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Iraq
6:40 am
Wed June 11, 2014

In Iraq, Mosul Falls To Insurgent Group

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 7:46 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There are dramatic developments in Iraq where an extremist group, that's taken over large parts of Syria, has stormed into the major Iraqi city of Mosul. Leaders there are saying that this Al Qaeda offshoot, which is called the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria, may even be pushing south in the direction of Baghdad. NPR's Alice Fordham joins us now from northern Iraq for more. And tell us, what exactly the situation is there, in Mosul.

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Iraq
4:33 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Key Iraqi City Falls To Islamist Militants

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:30 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

I'm Audie Cornish, and we begin the hour with the threat of a de facto Islamist state stretching across parts of Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi government has now lost control of one of its biggest cities, Mosul, to extremist Sunni militants. The group is known as ISIS, which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIS has been rejected as too extreme, even by some leaders of al-Qaida.

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Middle East
4:08 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

As Polls Close, Many Syrians Fear The Days To Come

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 8:03 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Syria's highly questionable, and carefully choreographed, election leaves many people concerned about how it may embolden President Bashar al-Assad. NPR's Alice Fordham has been talking with people inside Syria and in neighboring Beirut.

ALICE FORDHAM, BYLINE: At the end of the day, Assad will be able to show that there were many Syrians who vote for him because they want to or because he made them. It's a demonstration of power, either way.

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Middle East
5:31 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Key Areas Retaken, Assad Reasserts Himself Over War-Torn Syria

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 10:01 am

Despite the civil war, Syria is holding a presidential election on Tuesday. President Bashar Assad is expected to win another seven-year term.

Middle East
12:47 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

What Elections? Syrian Opposition Rejects Assad's Expected Win

A mock election poster depicts Syrian President Bashar Assad as Mafia boss Don Corleone, with token candidates kissing his hand.
Ahmed Jalal/Kafranbel Syrian Revolution

Originally published on Sun June 1, 2014 2:02 pm

Tuesday's elections in Syria are sure to result in another term for President Bashar Assad, even as the international community says his regime is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians.

The opposition is railing against his inevitable triumph.

At a demonstration Friday by some of the 1 million Syrians who have fled into neighboring Lebanon, the view on the election was clear.

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Middle East
4:06 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Force And Fear In The Air, As Syrian Refugees Go To Polls In Lebanon

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 4:02 pm

Syrian refugees in Lebanon are casting their votes ahead of Syria's presidential election next week. The election is seen as Bashar Assad's rigged bid for legitimacy — but many refugees believe that if they don't vote, they'll never be allowed back home.

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

Transcript

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Parallels
3:15 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Smugglers Thrive On Syria's Chaos, Looting Cultural Treasures

A Syrian policeman patrols the ancient oasis city of Palmyra in March. Many Syrian antiquities have been looted and smuggled out of the country during the past three years of civil war.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:53 am

Smuggling is a way of life in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, just over the border from Syria. Driving along it, you see pale smugglers' trails snaking through mountain passes, and the guys who run touristy little antiques stores here say they can get you anything.

"Everything that have traditions and everything found in old houses," says Reda Ismail, who runs one of the many stores in the valley. Dealers say most things here are smuggled from Syria, and Ismail thinks these days it's more prevalent.

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Parallels
3:28 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Beirut's Holiday Inn: Once Chic, Then Battered, Still Contested

The Beirut Holiday Inn rises behind the man who built it, Abdal Mohsin Kattan, in 1975. The Holiday Inn was one of the leading hotels in Beirut at a time when it was the most glamorous city in the Middle East. But when the Lebanese civil war broke out in 1975, the hotel was fiercely contested by rival militias. Lebanese are still debating what to do with the building.
Thomas J. Abercrombie National Geographic/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 5:13 pm

To check into Beirut's Holiday Inn these days, you need a permit from the army and the stamina to climb 26 flights of decaying stairs to the concrete carcass of a restaurant at the top that used to rotate.

This towering edifice may not look it today, but it was once the toast of Beirut, the most glamorous city in the Middle East before the 1975-'90 civil war turned the Lebanese capital into a byword for urban dystopia.

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Parallels
3:49 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Despite Bloody Conflict, Iraq's Leader Looks Likely To Keep Power

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki votes in Baghdad on April 30. Maliki's alliance won the most seats in election results announced this week. But his party will still have to build a coalition with rival parties for him to keep the job he's had for the past eight years.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 6:11 pm

Iraq's election didn't make a huge splash in the U.S., but the results of the April 30 vote were released this week, and the outcome has important ramifications for Iraq and the wider region. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's party came out way ahead.

Iraq has faded from the American radar, but it saw nearly a decade of U.S. military operations. And it's sandwiched between Syria, where a civil war is raging, and Iran, where nuclear negotiations are at a critical juncture.

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Parallels
3:37 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Iraq Debates Law That Would Allow Men To Marry 9-Year-Old Girls

An Iraqi schoolgirl passes a banner supporting a proposal that, among other things, would allow men to marry girls as young as 9. Opponents say it would mark a major setback for women and children. The Arabic on the banner reads: "The Jaafari Personal Status Law saves my rights and my dignity."
Karim Kadim AP

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 7:26 pm

A stroll through the Baghdad Book Fair last month was a lesson in today's cultural norms in Iraq. The books — gold-embossed, neatly arrayed — were almost all religious, and most of the customers were men.

But in the middle of the white pavilion, a woman's voice rang out loud and strong. Fawzia al-Babakhan, a lawyer, delivered a blistering critique of a proposed law that would rewrite the rules for matters such as marriage and inheritance according to Shiite Islamic law.

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Middle East
7:58 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Assad Troops Retake Homs, Symbol Of Syria's Uprising

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

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World
4:30 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Syrian Rebels Cede Stronghold After Over A Year Under Siege

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:59 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There's a development today in Syria's civil war. Syrian rebels surrendered control of an important piece of ground, the city of Homs. That's been the heart of uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Hundreds of rebel fighters abandoned the city's central district. They left in rickety green buses, escorted by the United Nations. The rebels had been under siege and were running out of ammunition and food.

For more on the story, we're joined by NPR's Alice Fordham. She's in Beirut.

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The Two-Way
1:33 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

A Symbol Of Syria's Uprising, Homs Reverts To Assad's Control

Rebels leave in green buses from the old city of Homs.
GhassanNajjar Twitter

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 6:43 am

The beginning of the end of the two-year siege of Old Homs came as green buses full of fighters bounced down uneven streets Wednesday — a scene that was captured in a photo that was retweeted hundreds of times.

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