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
5:08 am
Thu July 2, 2015

Sunnis Flee The Islamic State, But Still Fall Under Suspicion

Displaced Sunni Iraqis, who fled the violence in Ramadi, arrive at a makeshift camp on the outskirts of Baghdad, in April.
Ahmad Al-Rubaye AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 11:00 am

The al-Nidaa mosque in northern Baghdad looks grand, with clean, modern lines swooping up to a blue mosaic dome. But inside it's squalid, with piled-up mattresses, cooking pots and almost 60 families. Most are Sunni Muslims who fled the western province of Anbar when the self-proclaimed Islamic State advanced against the Iraqi security forces two months ago.

"We suffered a lot in our journey," says Wafaa Ahmed, a widow who walked for days with three sick children. "But the worst suffering was here in Baghdad."

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Africa
4:29 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Some Tourists Show Solidarity With Tunisia After Beach Attack

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 6:32 pm

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

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Africa
5:05 am
Mon June 29, 2015

After Slaughter Of Tourists, Tunisia Cracks Down On Islamists

Police patrol the beach at Sousse, Tunisia, on Sunday. Tunisian authorities have deployed additional security forces, closed some mosques and banned some Islamist groups in the wake of Friday's terrorist attack at a beachfront hotel.
Abdeljalil Bounhar AP

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 6:29 pm

Tunisia was in shock after at least 38 foreign tourists were killed Friday at a beachside hotel, apparently by one man: Saifeddine Rezgui, who was in turn killed by police.

Amid the horror, there was defiance in the air in the seaside town of Sousse. Hundreds of foreign tourists decided to stay, and were out on the beaches. And local residents held a patriotic demonstration, waving the red national flag and chanting about unity in a palm-fringed square.

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World
5:12 pm
Sat June 27, 2015

After Tunisia Attack, Tourists Leave — And Locals Worry

Originally published on Sat June 27, 2015 6:36 pm

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

Parallels
4:54 pm
Tue June 23, 2015

Iraqi Soldiers, Generals Shift The Blame For Battlefield Defeats

Iraqi Sunni volunteers take part in a graduation ceremony at the Habaniyah military base near Ramadi on June 17. Iraq's military is dominated by Shiites and is trying to recruit more Sunni soldiers.
Ahmad Al-Rubaye AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 23, 2015 8:56 pm

When the Iraqi city of Ramadi fell to the self-declared Islamic State last month, it was a big defeat. Ramadi is a provincial capital just 60 miles west of Baghdad, and the setback played into the notion that the Iraqi army is weak and inept.

The U.S. Congress and Pentagon were scathing, saying the Iraqi army lacked the will to fight. There were plenty of other critics as well, though we haven't heard much from the Iraqi soldiers themselves.

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Iraq
5:18 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Ramadi, Iraq, Offensive Delays Efforts To Take Back Mosul

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 12:45 pm

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Parallels
7:31 am
Sun May 24, 2015

With Syria's Army Losing Ground, A Boost From Hezbollah

Mourners attend the May 14 funeral of Hezbollah fighter Ahmad al-Amin in Babliyeh, Lebanon. Hezbollah is fighting alongside the Syrian army and Amin was killed while fighting in Syria's Qalamoun mountains against Nusra Front, al-Qaida's branch in Syria. The Syrian army has suffered multiple setbacks recently, but Hezbollah did help dislodge rebel fighters along the Syria-Lebanon border.
Mohammad Zaatari AP

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 10:43 am

The dirt roads on the border between Syria and Lebanon wind across a mountain range dotted with little wildflowers.

It's windswept and deserted except for a few hilltop outposts with clumps of gray tents, machine-gun nests and flags that fly the green and gold colors of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement.

These posts are new. In a three-week offensive, Hezbollah has worked with Syrian government forces and other allies to push rebel fighters out of a chunk of territory that the rebels held along this border for two years.

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Parallels
9:33 am
Fri May 22, 2015

A Wedding And A Challenge: Lebanese Couples Fight For Civil Marriage

Kholoud Succariyeh (right) and Nidal Darwish, who got married in defiance of Lebanon's ban on civil unions, walk past Beirut's landmark Pigeon Rock in 2013.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 23, 2015 11:52 am

Like lots of young married couples, Kholoud Succariyeh and Nidal Darwish love to show their wedding video. They go all misty-eyed remembering that day two years ago.

"Very beautiful," says Succariyeh. "Everything is nice."

Their wedding was special, not only as a personal milestone for the couple. It was a political milestone, as well.

Darwish says their union was a challenge to the state: It was Lebanon's first civil marriage.

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Parallels
6:14 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

After A Big Victory For ISIS, Iraqi Forces Look To Regroup

A car is engulfed by flames during clashes in Ramadi on Saturday. Islamic State militants drove Iraqi security forces out of the city, which is just 70 miles west of Baghdad.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 7:06 pm

The black flag of the self-proclaimed Islamic State is flying over the Iraqi city of Ramadi after government forces collapsed and the extremists seized control over the weekend.

Thousands of civilians have fled Ramadi and those left behind face a chaotic situation.

"No food, no fuel, no electricity. It's very difficult there," says Sheikh Hekmat Suleiman, an adviser to the governor of Anbar Province. Ramadi is the provincial capital, and the local government has now fled the city, just 70 miles west of Baghdad.

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Parallels
10:26 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Is Bashar Assad Just Losing Some Ground ... Or His Grip On Power?

People gather around a helicopter reportedly belonging to Syrian government forces that crashed in March in Jabal al-Zawiya in northwest Syria. Islamist rebels captured four crew members, while a fifth was killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Opposition fighters have made a number of advances in recent weeks.
Ghaith Omran AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 8:19 pm

The past few weeks have brought almost daily news of rebel victories in their 4-year-old battle against Syria's President Bashar Assad.

There was the capture of the crucial Nassib border crossing with Jordan — a key trade route and source of government taxes. And some of the biggest rebel victories have come in the northern province of Idlib, where the opposition recently captured the provincial capital, Idlib City, as well as military bases and other key towns.

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Parallels
4:39 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

In Battered Tikrit, Iraqi Forces Claim Much, But Not All Of City

Iraqi security forces and allied Shiite militiamen look for Islamic State extremists in Tikrit on Tuesday. Iraqi forces were going house-to-house in search of snipers and booby traps.
Khalid Mohammed AP

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 6:01 am

Driving from Baghdad north to Tikrit, we speed up a main road Wednesday through small towns that have been won back from the self-declared Islamic State, or ISIS. Some still have smoking buildings.

On the outskirts we pass through places that have obviously seen heavy fighting. Half-built houses are pocked with bullet holes, their windows shattered.

As we move into Tikrit proper, the excited fighters begin celebrating, Iraqi style, with gunshots into the air. They have reason to celebrate. A hard-fought battle appears to be nearing a conclusion.

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Parallels
3:42 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Lebanon's Reality TV: Like The Kardashians, Only Less Serious

A photo of the Abdelaziz sisters before their reality show aired.
Nadine Abdelaziz Via Instagram

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 2:51 pm

The Abdelaziz sisters live in a world of pretty artifice. Alice, Nadine and Farah answer the door in a flurry of hellos while their fluffball dog Stella barks and tinkles the bells on her tiny collar.

They usually live in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, in a family home, but for the purposes of their new reality show, The Sisters, they reside in this apartment where green hillsides spill down from picture windows to the Mediterranean below.

"The view is amazing here," says Nadine, the middle sister. "And you see the weather today is sunny."

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Parallels
9:53 am
Sun March 22, 2015

Qatar Digital Library Preserves The Music Of A Vanishing Past

Ṣawt musicians during a performance in Kuwait in May 2014.
Rolf Killius Qatar Digital Library

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 1:30 pm

The songs our grandparents sang can tell us who we are. Here in the U.S., the Lomax family became famous in the 1930s, when they recorded America's folk music.

In other countries that are changing fast, people are also trying to hold onto their heritage. The tiny, super-rich state of Qatar takes pride in its modernity, with its gleaming skyscrapers and lucrative gas fields. But it is also investing in a huge history project.

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Middle East
5:52 am
Mon March 9, 2015

App Aims To Track Engrained Corruption In Lebanon

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 8:20 am

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

The Two-Way
11:27 am
Thu February 26, 2015

ISIS Video Shows Extremists Smashing Priceless Artifacts

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 1:41 pm

The self-styled Islamic State has released a video showing an orgy of destruction of ancient statues in the Iraqi city of Mosul, with footage at a museum and at least one archaeological site nearby.

The video begins with an image of the police known as the Hisba, tasked with enforcing their strict interpretation of Islamic law, patrolling the streets. Then, the scene cuts to bearded men ripping protective coverings from statues in the museum.

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Middle East
4:37 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

ISIS Video Purports To Show Killing Of Jordanian Pilot

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 11:02 am

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

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Middle East
4:34 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Jordan Considers Handing Over Prisoner For Hostage Pilot

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 8:39 pm

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Parallels
4:09 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Syrian Rebels Want To Fight Assad, But Now They'll Face ISIS

Free Syrian Army fighters run behind sandbags in Daraa Al-Mahata, in southern Syria, on Jan. 21. Many moderate rebels joined the uprising to fight against President Bashar Assad, but the U.S. plans to train them to fight the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Wsam Almokdad Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 4:00 pm

In the U.S. view, the most serious threat coming from Syria is the self-styled Islamic State, or ISIS. That's why the Pentagon is sending forces to train what it terms moderate Syrian rebel fighters.

But here's the catch. Moderate rebel commanders say it will be hard to explain this mission to their troops, who took up arms with the aim of toppling Syrian President Bashar Assad, not ISIS.

The U.S. plan calls for the Americans and their allies to train and equip about 5,000 Syrian moderates. U.S. troops are heading to Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia for the training.

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Parallels
8:00 am
Sun January 25, 2015

Piece By Piece, Monks Scramble To Preserve Iraq's Christian History

Father Najeeb Michaeel shows off one of the many Christian manuscripts he saved from Iraq's Christian libraries.
Alice Fordham NPR

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 2:40 pm

In an unfinished building in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, displaced Christian children sing a little song about returning to their village. "We're going back," they sing, "to our houses, our land, our church."

Right now, they're living in an open concrete structure. The self-styled Islamic State, or ISIS, took over their home village of Qaraqosh, and the Christians fled in fear, on foot.

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The Two-Way
4:46 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Suspected Israeli Strike Kills Iranian General Advising Syrian Troops

Lebanese Hezbollah supporters carry the coffin of Jihad Mughniyeh during his funeral in Beirut on Monday. Mughniyeh was one of six ranking members of Hezbollah killed in a suspected Israeli strike Sunday. Iran says a general of its elite Revolutionary Guards was also killed.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 7:32 pm

Iran says a general in the country's elite Revolutionary Guard was killed by an Israeli airstrike in Syria on Sunday that also killed several ranking members of Hezbollah.

Though these aren't the first Iranians or Hezbollah fighters to be killed in Syria, this incident stands out because these men were on the Syrian Golan Heights, within 10 miles of Israel's northeastern border.

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