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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Middle East
2:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

For Islamic State, Victories In Iraq Mean Momentum In Syria

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:40 pm

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

Parallels
10:55 am
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 2:06 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
2:44 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

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

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:39 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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Iraq
5:55 am
Sun July 6, 2014

Iraqi Lawmakers Fail To Reach Deal On A New Government

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 10:50 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Iraq is looking more and more like a country being divided into three parts. Hard-core Sunni militants have taken much of the west. Well-organized Kurdish soldiers have grabbed the north. And everywhere else, Shiites are mustering sectarian militia. Thousands of Iraqis have been killed in just the last month. NPR's Alice Fordham reports there are a lot of ideas for helping the Iraqis, but the country's newly elected politicians are not exactly rushing to address the situation.

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Iraq
2:10 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Iraqi Parliament, And Maliki's Fate, Float In Limbo

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 5:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. With Iraq in crisis under the onslaught of Sunni extremists, the country's government is unable to pull together. A meeting of the Iraqi parliament fell apart today, and the issues before the body are critical for the government to function. The parliament was elected back in April, but members still have yet to agree on a speaker, a president and a prime minister. NPR's Alice Fordham is in Baghdad.

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Iraq
2:17 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

ISIS Gets A Rebrand, Declaring Its New Caliphate In The Process

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 12:07 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Parallels
7:54 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

For Iraqis, A Ramadan Filled With Fear And Uncertainty

Iraqis shop for food in preparation for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in Baghdad on Saturday.
Karim Kadim AP

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:53 pm

For more than a billion Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan begins this week, as different religious leaders sight the first new moon of the month.

Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk and traditionally break that fast with an elaborate meal followed by a lot of tea and sweets. But many face a bleak Ramadan this year. In Iraq, extremists have taken over much of the country and show no sign of easing their fighting.

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Parallels
3:53 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 7:30 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
2:07 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 6:18 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
2:11 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Even Amid Onslaught, Hints That Violence In Iraq Could Escalate

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 4:23 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Middle East
4:08 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Iraq's Army Is Ineffective Against Islamist Insurgents

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 7:30 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
3:22 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Islamist Militants Gain Ground In Northern Iraq

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 5:41 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
2:18 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Half A Million Iraqis Flee As Militants Move South

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 4:24 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
4:40 am
Wed June 11, 2014

In Iraq, Mosul Falls To Insurgent Group

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 5:46 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
2:13 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Key Iraqi City Falls To Islamist Militants

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 6:30 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
2:08 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

As Polls Close, Many Syrians Fear The Days To Come

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 6:03 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
10:47 am
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 12:02 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
2:39 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 2:02 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
1:15 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 7:53 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
1:28 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 3:13 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
1:26 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 5:26 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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World
2:59 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Syrian Rebels Cede Stronghold After Over A Year Under Siege

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:59 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
11:33 am
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 4:43 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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The Two-Way
3:16 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

With Truce, Syrian Regime On The Verge Of An Important Gain

Civilians and emergency personnel inspect the site of a car bomb explosion in the Abbasiyah neighborhood of Syria's central city of Homs on April 29.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 11:34 am

The Syrian regime may be on the verge of an important gain in its civil war. Rebels say they have agreed to a conditional retreat from areas they hold in the city of Homs.

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Middle East
2:21 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

An End In Sight For Siege Of Homs, As Syrian Rebels Plot Retreat

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 9:17 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The Syrian regime may be on the verge of an important advance in that country's civil war. Rebels said today that they've agreed to a conditional retreat from parts of the city of Homs. The forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have made a big push there lately.

NPR's Alice Fordham has the latest.

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Iraq
6:59 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Amid Violence And Without U.S. Troops, Iraq Votes

A Kurdish Iraqi policeman in the northern Kurdish city of Erbil casts his ballot Monday in special voting ahead of Wednesday's election.
Safin Hamed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 8:59 am

Iraqis are voting for Parliament Wednesday for the first time since American soldiers withdrew more than two years ago. Without their support, and amid intense violence, the poll will test Iraq's fragile democracy to its limits.

The election is for the 328-seat Parliament and offers more than 9,000 candidates on party lists. It will probably end up with no party winning a majority and lead to weeks or months of coalition haggling to form a new government.

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Iraq
2:00 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

On Cusp Of Third Term, Could Iraqi President Be A New Dictator?

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 4:18 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In Iraq, campaign posters cover the blast walls in Baghdad. Wednesday's national elections will be the first since U.S. troops withdrew in 2011. Change is a major campaign theme, but Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants one thing to stay the same - him. He's running for a third term. Critics worry his strong-arm tactics resemble those used by Saddam Hussein. NPR's Alice Fordham was recently in Iraq and filed this report.

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Parallels
12:16 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

How To Survive In Iraqi Politics

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is seeking another four years in power. The country votes Wednesday amid increased violence between the security forces and opposition groups.
Sabah Arar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 2:21 pm

Low to the dusty ground, by a reed-fringed river and a lush date palm orchard, is the farmhouse where Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, grew up.

The place is Junaja, one of hundreds of poor, Shiite Muslim farming towns in southern Iraq. Donkey carts jog alongside battered buses. No monument, no ostentation honors Maliki. The only new thing in town is the mosque.

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Parallels
3:27 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Syria Gives Up Chemical Weapons ... But A War Rages On

A Syrian woman cries as she leaves a residential block in Aleppo, Syria, reportedly hit by an explosives-filled barrel dropped by a government forces helicopter on March 18.
Khaled Khatib AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 9:30 am

Sunday is the deadline for Syrian President Bashar Assad to hand over his government's chemical weapons stockpile, and he will have surrendered the vast majority of his declared arsenal.

Some call this a triumph. Others say Assad used the deal to buy time for brutal offensives in the civil war raging through the country. Western governments are investigating reports of more chemical attacks, although Russian officials said Friday that Assad's forces did not use chemical weapons.

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Middle East
2:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Chemical Weapons Deadline May Be Met, But Results In Syria Are Mixed

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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