Deborah Amos

Deborah Amos covers the Middle East for NPR News. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition.

Amos travels extensively across the Middle East covering a range of stories including the rise of well-educated Syria youth who are unqualified for jobs in a market-drive economy, a series focusing on the emerging power of Turkey and the plight of Iraqi refugees.

In 2009, Amos won the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting from Georgetown University and in 2010 was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Life Time Achievement Award by Washington State University. Amos was part of a team of reporters who won a 2004 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for coverage of Iraq. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1991-1992, Amos was returned to Harvard in 2010 as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School.

In 2003, Amos returned to NPR after a decade in television news, including ABC's Nightline and World News Tonight and the PBS programs NOW with Bill Moyers and Frontline.

When Amos first came to NPR in 1977, she worked first as a director and then a producer for Weekend All Things Considered until 1979. For the next six years, she worked on radio documentaries, which won her several significant honors. In 1982, Amos received the Prix Italia, the Ohio State Award, and a DuPont-Columbia Award for "Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown" and in 1984 she received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for "Refugees."

From 1985 until 1993, Amos spend most of her time at NPR reporting overseas, including as the London Bureau Chief and as an NPR foreign correspondent based in Amman, Jordan. During that time, Amos won several awards, including an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a Break thru Award, and widespread recognition for her coverage of the Gulf War in 1991.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Amos is also the author of Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East (Public Affairs, 2010) and Lines in the Sand: Desert Storm and the Remaking of the Arab World (Simon and Schuster, 1992).

Amos began her career after receiving a degree in broadcasting from the University of Florida at Gainesville.

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Parallels
11:19 am
Wed December 17, 2014

A Tweet On Women's Veils, Followed By Raging Debate In Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian women wear their traditional face covering, the niqab, at a coffee and chocolate exhibition in the capital Riyadh on Monday. A prominent religious figure said on Twitter that the face veil is not mandatory, sparking a heated national debate.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:48 pm

The man at the eye of the storm in Saudi Arabia is Ahmad Aziz Al Ghamdi. He's a religious scholar, the former head of the religious police in Mecca, a group officially known as the Committee for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

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Parallels
4:58 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Facing Threats From ISIS And Iran, Gulf States Set To Join Forces

A member of the Saudi border guards mans a machine gun at the border with Iraq in July. Since the so-called Islamic State launched its offensive this summer in Iraq, Saudi Arabia has sent thousands of troops to the region.
Faisal Nasser Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 11:17 am

Alarmed over rising threats in the Middle East and North Africa, the Gulf Cooperation Council is set to launch an unprecedented joint military command, according to regional officials and military analysts.

"At the moment, we are witnessing a new spirit," says Abdulaziz Sager, head of the Gulf Research Center, a think tank that focuses on the GCC, a six-member group of Arab monarchies.

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The Two-Way
1:04 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Mall Murder Of American Teacher Stuns UAE, Where Violence Is Rare

Video footage shows a black-clad suspect at the mall in Abu Dhabi where Monday's stabbing took place.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 1:59 pm

The stabbing death of an American schoolteacher in a bathroom at an upscale mall in Abu Dhabi this week has shocked the United Arab Emirates, citizens and international residents alike. Violent crime is rare in the Emirates, a place where glitzy shopping centers are the hub of social life.

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Parallels
3:37 am
Thu December 4, 2014

A Syrian Entrepreneur Looks To Build The Amazon Of The Arab World

Ronaldo Mouchawar, a native of Syria, is the founder of Souq.com, which is now considered the leading e-commerce site in the region. He says his company, which is based in Dubai, reflects a quiet transformation that is taking places in parts of the Arab world.
Courtesy of Souq.com

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 9:11 pm

When Ronaldo Mouchawar was working in a Boston engineering firm he dreamed of moving back to the Arab world. Born and raised in Aleppo, Syria, he had come to the U.S. to study, then got a high-paying job, but he believed he "owed something" to his home region.

It turned out his ticket back was a smart idea at the right time.

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Parallels
11:00 am
Sat November 22, 2014

It's Crunch Time For The Iranian Nuclear Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (right) and Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (left) shake hands as Oman's Minister for Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi (second from right) and the former EU top diplomat Catherine Ashton watch in Muscat, Oman on Nov. 9. Iran is holding talks with six world powers in Vienna this weekend in advance Monday's deadline for a deal on Iran's nuclear program.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 11:45 am

Can Iran and six world powers reach a historic deal over Iran's nuclear program by Monday? The negotiations are at a crucial phase. As the deadline nears, regional hopes and fears are rising in equal measure.

A successful nuclear deal to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions could finally defuse one of the most dangerous crises in the Middle East. But a deal could also lead to more instability as regional powers react to what would be a historic re-set in relations in the Middle East.

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Middle East
5:05 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Examining Complications To U.S. Goals In Syria

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 10:36 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's try to understand what President Obama wants out of Syria. The president was asked about that last week, and he spoke of how limited U.S. goals really are in Syria.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Parallels
1:58 pm
Sat October 25, 2014

Iranian Entrepreneurs Make Pitches That Are Just Practice, For Now

Companies from Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran were among the more than 100 Internet startups at this year's Startup Istanbul event on Sept. 30. It was Iranian entrepreneurs' first time competing on an international stage.
Courtesy of Startup Istanbul

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 6:25 pm

Imagine this: You have a great idea for an Internet startup. You're sure it will work. You are ready to be part of the global market. There's one big problem: You live in Iran, a country facing some of the most extensive financial sanctions imposed on any country in the world.

That was the challenge for a team of young Iranian entrepreneurs competing in the recent Startup Istanbul, where aspiring entrepreneurs got to pitch ideas to the founders of successful tech companies and venture capitalists at a conference in Turkey.

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Middle East
4:59 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Understanding The Kurds' Different Roles In Different Conflicts

Syrian Kurdish fighter Delkhwaz Sheikh Ahmad, 22, sits with his wife Siham, 23, and their two sons, Dilyar and Ibrahim, at his brother's house on the Turkey-Syria border on Friday. He was preparing to leave for Kobani, Syria, to rejoin the fighting against the Islamic State.
Lefteris Pitarakis ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 7:16 pm

The Kurds are involved in several Middle East dramas at the moment. Yet they live in multiple countries across the region and are playing different roles in different places.

In Iraq, Kurdish fighters are working closely with the U.S. to battle the Islamic State.

In Syria, the Kurds are also fighting the Islamic State, but until U.S. air drops this week, the U.S. had been reluctant to work directly with the Syrian Kurds.

Then there are the Turkish Kurds, who have been seeking to join the battle, but have been blocked from doing so by Turkey.

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Parallels
5:43 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

A Smuggler Explains How He Helped Fighters Along 'Jihadi Highway'

Alleged Islamic State militants stand next to an ISIS flag atop a hill in the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, called Kobane by the Kurds, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border in Suruc, Turkey, on Monday.
Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 2:08 pm

The Syrian smuggler agrees to meet at an outdoor cafe in Kilis, a town on the edge of Syria-Turkey frontier. As waiters deliver glasses of hot, sweet tea and Turks play dominoes at nearby tables, he talks about his role in the "Jihadi Highway" and why he finally decided to quit.

The smuggler, in his mid-20s, is open about every aspect of the lucrative enterprise, except for revealing his name. He is well-known to the militants of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, who paid him well for his skills, and who certainly would kill him for speaking to a journalist.

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Middle East
4:13 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Syrian Rebels Fear Assad Will Benefit From ISIS Airstrikes

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 6:30 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Middle East
5:04 am
Tue September 23, 2014

U.S., Allies Hit islamic State Targets In Syria

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 1:20 pm

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

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Parallels
3:44 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

After A Long Wait, Syrian Rebels Hope The Weapons Will Now Flow

Syrian rebel fighters in the northern city of Aleppo in August. The Obama administration has been vetting rebel groups and decided that more than a dozen are moderate enough to arm.
Zein al-Rifai AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:45 pm

President Obama has long been reluctant to provide substantial aid to Syria's so-called moderate rebels, often dismissed as weak and disorganized. But the rapid rise of the group that calls itself the Islamic State has changed many calculations.

The CIA has been running a small-scale covert weapons program since early this year, according to rebels who have been trained and are now receiving arms shipments. The modest program has strengthened moderate battalions, according to Western and regional analysts, even as rebel commanders complain about the meager arms flow.

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Middle East
5:15 am
Wed September 17, 2014

What Does It Mean To Be A Moderate In Syria's Civil War?

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 7:50 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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World
4:34 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Kerry Courts Support For Obama's ISIS Plan In Paris

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 5:11 pm

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

Parallels
3:12 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Islamic State Rule: Municipal Services And Public Beheadings

This image, posted on a militant website, shows an Islamic State fighter waving a flag from a captured government fighter jet in Raqqa, Syria. The Islamic State captured the city in northeastern Syria last year and it has effectively served as its capital.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 9:25 pm

In just a year, the self-proclaimed Islamic State has set up an efficient government in Raqqa, a provincial capital in Syria's northeast, part of the farm belt a few hours drive from the Turkish border.

Officials from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, provide services and have taken control of schools and impose taxes. The group has staffed a police force and even directs traffic.

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Middle East
4:57 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Mideast Region Reacts To Obama's Speech With Skepticism

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 8:24 am

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

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Middle East
4:33 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

ISIS Convenient For Assad's Narrative On Civil War

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 6:29 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Parallels
3:43 am
Tue September 9, 2014

How The Islamic State Smuggles Oil To Fund Its Campaign

Smoke rises from the Beiji oil refinery during clashes between the Islamic State and Iraqi government forces in Beiji, northern Iraq, on July 30. The militants tried to take the refinery this summer, but government forces have held on.
STR EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 1:43 pm

Editor's Note: This story was published on Sept. 9. In light of the U.S.-led airstrikes on the Islamic State's oil production facilities, we wanted to showcase it once again.

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Parallels
7:39 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Syrian Babies Born To Refugees Face A Future In Limbo

Ayaman with his wife, Selma, and their 1-month-old daughter, Shana, who was born in Turkey. Syrian refugee parents who give birth in Turkey are finding it difficult to register their newborns, and many are stateless.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 2:05 pm

Thousands of Syrian infants born to refugee parents are now stateless. Their births are unregistered and will pose many difficult challenges in this long-term conflict.

The exact numbers are far from certain. A recent report by the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, suggests that 75 percent of Syrians born in Lebanon since 2011 have not been properly registered. Many families don't have any identification documents, which were destroyed in the fighting or left behind in a panicked escape.

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Parallels
3:06 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Syria's Army On The Verge Of Retaking The Country's Largest City

A Syrian man carries a girl on a street covered with dust following a government airstrike in Aleppo on Tuesday. Rebels took the eastern half of the city in 2012 but are now in danger of being forced out by President Bashar Assad's troops.
Baraa Al-Halabi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 1:00 pm

When Syria's rebels were on the offensive in 2012, they captured the eastern half of Aleppo and the surrounding countryside. But now President Bashar Assad's troops are poised to retake all of the city that is the largest in Syria and served as the prewar financial capital.

A new military campaign is heating up as Assad, who assumed power when his father, Hafez Assad, died in 2000, was sworn in Wednesday for his third term as president. A rebel defeat could be a crushing blow to what is left of the country's three-year rebellion against the Syrian regime.

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