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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Middle East
4:14 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

In A Syrian Village, Evidence Of A Slaughter

Anti-government protesters in the northern Syrian village of Hass protest on Thursday following the deaths of dozens of civilians a day earlier in the village of Mazraat al-Qubair. The banner reads, "The al-Qubair massacre challenges the world's humanity."
Edlib News Network AP

Originally published on Fri June 8, 2012 8:03 pm

NPR correspondent Deborah Amos joined U.N. monitors and a small group of journalists Friday who were able to enter the Syrian village of Mazraat al-Qubair, where 78 people, including women and children, were killed on Wednesday by pro-government forces, according to opposition activists.

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The Two-Way
4:22 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

In Syria, Some Places 'Are Already Living The Civil War'

A Syrian boy sits in the rubble of house which was destroyed during a military operation by the Syrian pro-Assad army in April in the town of Taftanaz, Syria.
AP

NPR's Deborah Amos has been covering the uprising in Syria since it began more than a year ago. Like other foreign reporters, she has had to cover much of the conflict from afar because the Syrian government has only rarely granted visas. She has just returned to Syria for the first time since last fall and sent this dispatch:

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Middle East
8:37 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Preaching Nonviolence, Syrian Activist Heads Home

Sheik Jawdat Said, 81, has been urging nonviolent protest in Syria for decades, and has been arrested many times. A scholar and an activist, shown here speaking at American University in Washington in March, he is heading back to Syria this week and plans to resume his call for peaceful opposition to the government.
Jeff Watts American University

Syria's foremost proponent of nonviolent protest says he's returning to Damascus this week and will keep delivering his long-standing message despite the country's worsening bloodshed.

Sheik Jawdat Said is an 81-year-old Islamic scholar whose books and teachings helped inspire young Syrian activists to challenge the regime in peaceful protests last year.

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Middle East
4:33 am
Sun May 13, 2012

Largely Unseen, Syria Carries Out Arrest Campaign

Syrian President Bashar Assad's government has waged a two-pronged campaign against the opposition, critics say. His military continues to fight, while nonviolent activists are being detained in increasing numbers, according to monitoring groups.
AFP/Getty Images

President Bashar Assad's regime has launched a new and sweeping arrest campaign of opposition activists and intellectuals in the past few weeks, according to Western analysts and diplomats.

The growing tally of arrests has gone largely unnoticed, overshadowed by the daily violence that threatens to jeopardize the U.N. peace plan. But in combination, both are undermining the already faint hopes of peace.

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Middle East
8:22 am
Thu April 19, 2012

For Syria, A 'Lawrence Of Arabia' Moment

Syrians walk through a badly damaged neighborhood in the central city of Homs on Sunday. Despite a declared cease-fire, fighting has continued in a number of Syrian cities, and peace efforts are at risk of collapsing.
AP

In the final scenes of the classic film Lawrence of Arabia, the Arab rebel fighters are wrapped up with internal, petty squabbles in Damascus as the great powers maneuver for the future of Syria.

Now, nearly a century after the events depicted in that movie, there's a similar Lawrence of Arabia moment playing out in Syria.

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Middle East
8:39 am
Wed April 11, 2012

At The Met: A Middle East Transition, Centuries Ago

The Met's exhibit examines Christian Byzantium and Islam as they first came into contact in the Middle East in the seventh to ninth centuries. This ivory carving is from what is known as the Grado Chair, a Christian artifact from the Eastern Mediterranean or Egypt in the seventh to eighth century.
Reunion des Musees Nationaux/Art Resource, NY The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:53 am

The yearlong tumult of the Arab Spring has reached all the way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

A stunning and timely new show, "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition," covers exactly the places caught up in modern day revolts, and many of the developments from more than a millennium ago are closely linked to the events of today.

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Middle East
9:36 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Aid Group's Role In Syria Pushes Limits

Campaigners from the international advocacy group Avaaz protest Russian arms sales to the Syrian government during a demonstration in front of the Russian Embassy in Berlin on Nov. 2.
Michael Sohn AP

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 11:07 am

A year into the Syrian uprising, with the world community reluctant to intervene, one international group has taken a direct and risky role in Syria — even taking part in the high-profile rescue of Western journalists from the besieged city of Homs.

Avaaz, a global online pressure group based in New York, has given crucial support to the uprising and the Syrian activist networks that aim to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad.

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The Two-Way
12:35 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

A Passion To Bear Witness: Why War Correspondents Take The Risk

Shadid won two Pulitzer prizes for international reporting, in 2004 and 2010. Here, he poses on the campus of Brown University in the year of his second win.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:01 am

Journalists don't talk about the danger. They don't usually recount the moments of agonizing terror that come after a bad decision to continue on down the road as the faint sound of mortar shells grows louder.

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Africa
2:27 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

In Morocco, The Arab Spring's Mixed Bounty

Relatives of Abdelwahab Zaydoun, a 27-year-old Moroccan who set himself on fire to protest his unemployment and died from his burns, react to his death in Casablanca last month. A year after street protests in Morocco prompted some reforms, Moroccans remain discontent with the gap between rich and poor, and the slow strides toward democracy.
Abdeljalil Bounhar AP

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 4:26 pm

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Africa
10:01 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

In Morocco, Unemployment Can Be A Full-Time Job

Demonstrators carry posters of Abdelwahab Zaydoun, who set himself on fire and died from his burns Tuesday. Zaydoun was part of a movement protesting unemployment in Morocco.
Abdeljalil Bounhar AP

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 8:04 am

It is rush hour in Rabat, the Moroccan capital, and time for the march of unemployed college graduates.

They are part of a movement that has become a rite of passage. It's a path to a government career for a lucky few, even though it can take years.

"I have a degree, a master's degree in English, and I'm here ... idle without a job, without dignity, without anything," protester Abdul Rahim Momneh says.

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Africa
4:31 am
Sun January 22, 2012

In Morocco, Islamists Learn To Work With A King

Morocco's Islamist Justice and Development Party heads the country's new government, the result of snap elections called by the king. Here, Abdelilah Benkirane, the party's secretary general and now prime minister, arrives for an election rally in Sale on Nov. 1. The party now faces political as well as economic challenges.
Paul Schemm AP

An Islamist party heads Morocco's newly elected government, part of a wave of Islamist election victories following uprisings across North Africa.

But Morocco's case is a bit different. King Mohammed VI responded quickly to a pro-democracy movement last year with a new constitution and snap elections. The Justice and Development Party, known as the PJD, won the most votes in November. Now, Moroccans ask: How will this popular Islamist party govern?

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Africa
10:01 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

For Moroccan Activists, The King's Reforms Fall Short

Morocco's King Mohammed VI introduced reforms after protests began last February. But activists say the measures didn't go far enough and they are still taking to the streets. Here, the king is shown in his palace in Rabat on June 17.
Azzouz Boukallouch AP

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 6:42 am

When a pro-democracy movement took to the streets of Morocco last February, King Mohammed VI, who has been on the throne for more than decade, responded swiftly.

Within weeks, the king had proposed a new constitution and snap elections. The Moroccan example of reforms without violence was hailed by some as a model.

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The Arab Spring: One Year Later
10:01 pm
Sun January 8, 2012

Is The Arab Spring Good Or Bad For The U.S.?

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 7:09 am

The Arab uprisings have ousted or weakened some American allies. Elections in Tunisia and Egypt have shown the strength of Islamist political parties. And after the long, hard war in Iraq, the U.S. appears to have a diminished appetite for new, complicated undertakings in the region. In the last of our six-part series on the upheavals changing the Middle East, NPR's Deborah Amos looks at what it all means for America.

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Africa
12:51 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Rapper's Imprisonment Tests Moroccan Reforms

Moroccan rapper Mouad Belrhouate, shown here on an album cover, is commonly known as El-Haqed, or "the defiant one." He's been jailed for four months and is awaiting trial in Casablanca. His supporters say his case shows the limits of recent political changes introduced by King Mohammed VI.
Deborah Amos NPR

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 8:18 pm

Morocco has been called one of the winners of the Arab Spring. The country's young king, Mohammed VI, offered a new constitution and early elections, taking the steam out of a protest movement that rose up last February.

But the arrest and trial of an artist who writes provocative rap songs show that there seem to be limits to the reforms.

The rap songs of 24-year-old Mouad Belrhouate are popular in Morocco, even more so after the four months he has spent in jail.

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Middle East
10:01 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Syrian Uprising Raises The Specter Of Sectarian War

Syria's embattled President Bashar Assad still has supporters, particularly among his fellow Alawites, a minority who believe they will suffer if Assad is ousted. Here, Assad supporters rally Tuesday in the capital, Damascus.
SANA handout EPA /Landov

For the past 10 months, Syrians have taken to the streets in large numbers to oppose a repressive regime that has not hesitated to use force. The United Nations estimates more than 5,000 Syrians have died, and it is far from clear how the uprising will play out. President Bashar Assad's regime blames the revolt on Islamist militants and casts the uprising as a threat to Syria's minorities, including Assad's fellow Alawites and the country's Christians.

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Middle East
1:00 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Qatar Emerges As Major Force In Arab World

The tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar has deep pockets and a big microphone in the form of its news network, Al Jazeera. In recent months, those assets have been used to propel the Arab Spring forward. Qatar has supported rebel movements in Libya and Syria, and is promoting a "Marshall Fund" for Oman, Morocco and Jordan. The country's emir has close, personal relationships with the emerging Islamist leaders from Casablanca to Cairo — and meanwhile provides a home to the largest U.S. military base outside the United States.

Middle East
3:04 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

In Syria, Arab League Observers Caught In Crossfire

In this frame grab from an amateur video posted on YouTube, members of the Arab League monitor violence in the Syrian city of Homs this week.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 4:51 pm

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Middle East
1:00 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Arab League Monitors Visit Besieged Syrian City

Arab League monitors visited the central city of Homs, an opposition stronghold, besieged and under bombardment by the Syrian army until the monitors showed up. Syrian army armor was withdrawn from the city streets ahead of the visit, but activists say they expect a resumption of the army offensive as soon as the monitors leave. They also complain that they have not been allowed to meet with the Arab League team.

Middle East
3:07 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Arab League Wavers On Sanctions Against Syria

Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al Arabi (far left) meets with foreign ministers of the Arab League in Cairo on Nov. 27. The group imposed tough sanctions against Syria at that meeting, but is now wavering when it comes to implementing them.
Khaled Elfiqi EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 9:54 am

The Arab League has a reputation for being long on rhetoric and short on action. That's why it was so surprising when Arab ministers approved an unprecedented package of sanctions against Syria at the end of November.

But the unity that produced that vote is falling apart, and a meeting in Cairo to set the terms of the sanctions was suspended indefinitely.

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Middle East
1:23 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

For Some Arab Revolutionaries, A Serbian Tutor

Srdja Popovic, who runs the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies, speaks in Belgrade in February. He played a prominent role in ousting Serbia's dictator in 2000, and has worked with Arabs involved in uprisings in their countries during the past year.
Darko Vojinovic AP

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 5:21 pm

Srdja Popovic, a lanky biologist from Belgrade, helped overthrow a dictator in Serbia a decade ago. Since then, he's been teaching others what he learned, and his proteges include a host of Arab activists who have played key roles in ousting Arab autocrats over the past year.

"This is a bad year for bad guys," Popovic says with a broad grin in a New York cafe.

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Middle East
3:02 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

After Fleeing, Syrian Activists Regroup In Turkey

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, right, and Turkish President Abdullah Gul meet in Ankara, Turkey on Friday. Biden praised Turkey for putting pressure on neighboring Syria to stop its bloody crackdown of protesters.
Murat Cetinmuhurdar AP

In a matter of months, Turkey has gone from one of Syria's strongest allies to one of its sharpest critics as the uprising in Syria has been met with a harsh crackdown by President Bashar Assad.

Turkey has become a haven for Syrian refugees, a base for Syrian army defectors and a home for Syria's main political opposition group. And on Friday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was in Turkey for talks that included the deteriorating conditions in Syria.

On the streets of Istanbul, Akram Asaf, a 31-year-old lawyer who fled Syria, says he feels safe, but not yet free.

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