Leila Fadel

Leila Fadel is NPR's international correspondent based in Cairo.

Before joining NPR, she covered the Middle East for The Washington Post. In her role as Cairo Bureau Chief she reported on a wave of revolts and their aftermaths in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria.

Prior to her position as Cairo Bureau Chief for the Post, she covered the Iraq war for nearly five years with Knight Ridder, McClatchy Newspapers and later the Washington Post. Her foreign coverage of the devastating human toll of the Iraq war earned her the George. R. Polk award in 2007.

Leila Fadel is a Lebanese-American journalist who speaks conversational Arabic and was raised in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

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2:48pm

Mon February 10, 2014
Africa

Egypt's Crackdown Widens, But Insurgency Still Burns

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 3:55 pm

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood (background) clash with supporters of Egypt's army chief Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi in Cairo on Jan. 24.
Khaled Kamel AFP/Getty Images

Here are three numbers that tell the story of Egypt's security crackdown, its political turmoil and the simmering insurgency.

16,687. It's estimated that at least this many political detainees have been imprisoned since the military ousted the Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, on July 3.

4,482. At least this many people have been killed in clashes since Morsi's ouster, many at the hands of security forces.

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5:30pm

Tue January 28, 2014
Middle East

The Coup Goes To Court: Ousted Pres. Morsi On Trial In Cairo

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 6:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

In Cairo today, former President Mohammed Morsi appeared in court for the second time since he was ousted in a military coup last July. The Islamist leader wore a white prison uniform and stood in a glass-enclosed cage. As NPR's Leila Fadel reports, Morsi faces charges that could lead to the death penalty.

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5:17pm

Mon January 27, 2014
Mental Health

No Surprises: Egyptian Military Endorses Its Chief For President

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 7:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now, to Egypt where there were more indications today that the country's top military chief is preparing to run for president. The armed forces announced on state television that Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi should, in their words, heed the call of the people and run for president in an election expected to be held within the next three months.

NPR's Leila Fadel joins us now from Cairo. Hi, Leila.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Hi.

SIEGEL: And does this mean that Egypt's military chief is definitely running for president?

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4:55am

Mon January 27, 2014
Middle East

Deaths, Arrests Mark 3rd Anniversary Of Egypt's Uprising

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 7:25 am

The third anniversary of Egypt's revolution was marked with violent clashes across the country between pro and anti-government demonstrators. By Sunday morning at least 49 people had been killed and more than 1,000 arrested.

11:07am

Sat January 25, 2014
Middle East

Three Years Later, Tahrir Protesters Drained And Defeated

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 8:17 pm

Egyptian security forces close Tahrir Square to disperse protesters in December.
Ahmed Abd El Latif AP

Three years after the start of the 2011 revolution, many of the young secular activists who led the protests are behind bars.

Others have gone silent, afraid to speak out as the military and the ousted Muslim Brotherhood are locked in a battle for Egypt itself.

For most of those revolutionaries, this is a dark and bitter time.

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2:28pm

Tue December 3, 2013
Parallels

The High Price Egyptians Pay For Opposing Their Rulers

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 7:11 pm

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood run from tear gas during clashes with riot police near Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya square on Nov. 22.
AFP/Getty Images

Mohamed Yousef is a tall, handsome practitioner of kung fu. In fact, he's an Egyptian champion who recently won an international competition.

But a month ago, when he collected his gold medal at the championship in Russia, he posed for a picture after putting on a yellow T-shirt with a hand holding up four fingers.

That's the symbol of Rabaa al-Adawiya, the Cairo square where Egyptian security forces opened fire in August on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Hundreds were killed, including seven of Yousef's friends.

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4:24pm

Wed November 27, 2013
Middle East

Egyptians Hit Streets, Defying Protest Ban

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 10:04 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A new political storm is brewing in Egypt. It's over a law that bans unauthorized protest. Egyptian officials are taking to the airwaves to defend the law, in the face of fierce opposition from secular political activists. NPR's Leila Fadel reports from Cairo.

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6:14pm

Mon November 18, 2013
Middle East

Back To The Future: Calls Grow For A Military Ruler In Egypt

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:27 pm

An Egyptian woman kisses a poster of Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi as she arrives at Cairo's Tahrir Square to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war last month. Many are calling for the general to run for president next year, but so far he has remained coy.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

For nearly three years Egyptians have battled for a different, and better, future. But the transition has been tumultuous, filled with pitfalls, death and disappointment.

Today, many are ready to settle for a return to the pre-revolution status quo: a strong, military man who can guide Egypt back to stability.

At the Kakao lounge in central Cairo, teenage girls sample chocolates that bear the face of Egyptian military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The chocolates depict Sissi in sunglasses, Sissi saluting and Sissi's face in ornate chocolate frames.

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3:07am

Tue November 12, 2013
Parallels

Tripoli Zoo Sees Different Kind Of Cage — One With Migrants

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 1:34 pm

Illegal immigrants captured in the Libyan coastal city of Surman are held at a temporary prison in an eastern district of Tripoli, Libya, on Oct. 19.
Hamza Turkia Xinhua /Landov

Gun-toting militiamen man the steel gate that leads into the Tripoli zoo. A sign promises a garden of animals. Inside, there are paths that meander through a maze of cages and animal habitats. Monkeys climb trees; hippos submerge themselves in water and lions lounge in the heat.

Just a few hundred yards away, there's a different kind of cage: Inside there are people — migrants waiting to be deported or to prove they are in Libya legally.

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12:10pm

Thu November 7, 2013
Parallels

In Libya, The Militias Rule While Government Founders

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 6:51 pm

Militias from towns throughout the country's west parade through Tripoli, Libya, in 2012. Analysts say the country is awash with heavy weapons in the hands of militias divided by tribe, ideology and region. The central government has little power over the gunmen.
Abdel Magid Al Fergany AP

Zintan, a mountain town in northwestern Libya, is a place of gray and brown buildings, with little infrastructure, about 50,000 people and no central government control.

The Libyan government doesn't provide basic services, not even water. People use wells to provide for themselves. The local council runs all of Zintan's affairs out of a building in the center of town.

At the local militia base on the outskirts of town, we meet the keeper of Saif el-Islam Gadhafi, the son and one-time heir apparent of Moammar Gadhafi.

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4:37pm

Mon October 21, 2013
Middle East

Unrest Erupts In Egypt After Attack On Christian Wedding

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:10 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Sunday was supposed to be a day of joy in Egypt at the Church of the Virgin Mary in suburban Cairo. There were four weddings scheduled. But after a drive-by shooting ripped through the celebrations, there were four burials today instead. At least 18 other people were wounded in the attack. It was the latest act of violence in a country experiencing divisions and great crisis. From Cairo, NPR's Leila Fadel sent this report.

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12:58pm

Fri October 18, 2013
Parallels

Egypt's Crackdown On Islamists Spreads To Mosques, Charities

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 10:09 pm

A physician collects medical equipment and medicines from the remains of the partially destroyed Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque compound hospital in Cairo on Aug. 15.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Mohammed is a teacher, and for the past 17 years, he has also worked with an Islamic charity in Cairo. But a little more than two weeks ago that charity was shut down.

Security forces raided its office, took everything and began searching for the head of the board of directors because he's connected to the Muslim Brotherhood — the Islamist group of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

Mohammed, who asked that only his first name be used, fled.

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3:00am

Wed October 9, 2013
Parallels

Bound By Blood, Divided By Politics: Three Egyptian Sisters

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 8:44 pm

Egyptian women queue outside a polling station during voting on a disputed constitution drafted by Islamist supporters of then-President Mohammed Morsi, in Giza, Egypt, last December. In a country divided by a political crisis, families are not spared.
Nasser Nasser AP

Nagwa, Dina and May are sisters. All three are married, all three have children. All three had always been close — until now.

Egypt's political crisis is changing those relationships. Nagwa and May sympathize with the Muslim Brotherhood. Dina, on the other hand, supports the military, arguing that the generals are just keeping extremists at bay.

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3:56am

Fri September 27, 2013
Middle East

Journalists In Egypt Face 'Unprecedented Pressures'

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:54 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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5:00pm

Thu September 12, 2013
Parallels

As The Revolution Fades, Tunisia Begins To Splinter

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 9:35 pm

People gather outside the Constituent Assembly headquarters during a protest to demand the ouster of the Islamist-dominated government, in Tunis, Tunisia, on July 28.
Anis Mili Reuters/Landov

For Tunisia's ruling Islamist party, Ennahda, what happened this summer in Egypt is a cautionary tale and a constant reminder of the risks it faces as it navigates through its own political crisis.

In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood easily dominated all post-revolutionary elections, only to be ousted by the military in July. Brotherhood supporters now carry yellow placards, a reminder of the military crackdown, and that same placard now hangs on Ennahda's headquarters in the Tunisian capital, Tunis.

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12:02pm

Thu August 29, 2013
Parallels

In Egypt's Political Turmoil, Middle Ground Is The Loneliest

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 7:01 pm

The protesters who opposed Hosni Mubarak two years ago, like these demonstrators in Cario's Tahrir Square on Feb. 8, 2011, have been pushed to the sidelines in the current confrontation.
Emilio Morenatti AP

Egypt is quieter these days. Protests against the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi have subsided for now. And the military-appointed interim government is firmly in charge.

Yet, Egypt remains deeply polarized. And the middle is a lonely place to be.

Some of the young revolutionaries who led the 2011 uprising against the regime of Hosni Mubarak feel they are back to square one, battling authoritarian forces on both sides.

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4:50am

Fri August 23, 2013
Middle East

Mubarak's Release From Prison Cuts Across Egypt's Divisions

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:07 pm

Security forces and medics wheel a stretcher transporting former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from a military helicopter into an ambulance at a Cairo military hospital after his release from prison Thursday.
AFP/Getty Images

In Egypt, members of the Muslim Brotherhood are trying to get supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi back into the streets.

But the military appears to be consolidating its power.

There were signs of Egypt's shifting fortunes on Thursday when former President Hosni Mubarak was flown from jail to house arrest in a hospital. A few dozen people celebrated outside the prison as Mubarak, 85, was ferried away by helicopter.

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7:55am

Sat August 17, 2013
Middle East

Despite Bloodshed, Many Egyptians Support Military

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 8:16 am

A pro-Morsi supporter stands with other demonstrators in Cairo's Abbassiya neighborhood on Friday.
Mohammed Abdel Moneim AFP/Getty Images

Egypt witnessed the bloodiest day in its modern history this week. More than 600 people were killed, most during a security crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

And it isn't over. Dozens more have died since, some in citizen-on-citizen violence. A standoff is going on at a central Cairo mosque, and the nation is spiraling out of control.

Much of Egypt has little sympathy for Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood or their supporters.

'For The Good Of Egypt'

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7:09pm

Thu August 15, 2013
Parallels

Scene From A Cairo Mosque Turned Morgue

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 8:50 pm

A man walks among shrouded bodies at a Cairo mosque on Thursday. At the El-Iman mosque, more than 200 bodies were being prepared for burial, the victims killed in a crackdown on protesters by Egypt's military-backed government.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

After the bloodshed, comes the grief.

A man weeps as he surveys row upon row of corpses. Some are completely burned. "They are all my brothers," he cries.

Nearby, men methodically break apart blocks of ice in two caskets inside this Cairo mosque. They then place them under the bodies to stop them from decomposing.

But still the sickly sweet smell of death hangs in the air.

Volunteers burn incense and spray air freshener to mask it, but that only adds to the stifling atmosphere.

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6:06pm

Tue July 9, 2013
Political Crisis In Egypt

For Now At Least, Egypt's Police Are Seen As The Good Guys

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 7:15 pm

A member of Egypt's police special forces stands guard next to an armored vehicle on July 3, protecting a bridge between Cairo's Tahrir Square and Cairo University where Muslim Brotherhood supporters gathered.
Manu Brabo AP

Egypt has undergone profound change over the past 10 days. The military has overthrown an elected Islamist president and is back in control of the country amid deadly clashes between Islamists and the state security forces.

There's been another change as well: Egypt's police, long reviled by much of the population, have become unlikely heroes for opponents of the now-ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

During Egypt's 2011 uprising, revolutionaries fought pitched street battles with the police force, the protector of the autocratic regime.

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3:07am

Tue June 18, 2013
Parallels

Libyan Radio Station Promotes Democracy, One Rap At A Time

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 1:52 pm

Libyan presenters work at the studio of Radio Zone in Tripoli, Libya, in 2012. The radio station's owners hope to teach a new generation about democracy.
Mahmud Turkia AFP/Getty Images

Many of the militia fighters who rose up and ousted former dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 have refused to lay down their arms and are still challenging the post-revolutionary government.

Yet the militias are facing a challenge of their own. They now come under verbal attack on one of Libya's newest radio stations, Radio Zone.

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2:55am

Wed May 29, 2013
Parallels

After The War, A Bitter Feud Remains In Two Libyan Towns

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 9:04 pm

A destroyed home in Tawargha, south of Misrata, on June 5, 2012. Residents have not returned home for fear of death.
John W. Poole NPR

Little boys play soccer in the afternoon heat at a makeshift camp near Libya's capital Tripoli. Their homes, or what's left of them, are in Tawargha, a small town about 20 miles from the Mediterranean coast.

The town has been empty since August of 2011. Its residents fled in cars and on foot, under fire from rebel militiamen from the nearby town of Misrata.

The siege of Misrata was one of the bloodiest battles of the Libyan war. Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi shelled Misrata relentlessly, killing hundreds.

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4:14pm

Thu May 16, 2013
Parallels

From The Heart Of Egypt's Revolt, The Pulse Of Artistic Life

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 8:34 pm

Egyptian folk singer Dina El Wedidi performs at Qasr El Nil Theater during the Downtown Cairo Arts Festival. Wedidi says efforts to revitalize venues like the Qasr El Nil are important because there aren't enough places for musicians of the post-revolution explosion to perform.
Mostafa Abdel Aty Courtesy of Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival

Egypt's capital, Cairo, is now synonymous with protests and sometimes violence. Late at night, the once-bustling downtown streets are largely empty these days. People worry about getting mugged or caught up in a mob.

But the recent Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival is an attempt to revitalize the area with music, art and culture in the old and forgotten venues of downtown Cairo, like the Qasr El Nil Theater.

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5:03am

Sat April 27, 2013
Middle East

Egyptian Activists: Our Religion Is None Of Your Business

Originally published on Sat April 27, 2013 8:17 pm

Egyptian Christians gather around four coffins during a funeral service at the Saint Mark Coptic cathedral in Cairo on April 7. Religious violence this month has killed three Muslims and at least six Christians.
Amr Nabil AP

Since Egypt's revolution began, tensions among Egypt's Muslims and Christians have only increased. Earlier this month, it once again turned deadly. Tit-for-tat killings left three Muslims and at least six Christians dead.

That and other religious violence is prompting a public debate about religious identity in Egypt. One group of young Egyptians wants to remove religious labels from national ID cards.

'Where The Trouble Starts'

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3:21am

Wed April 24, 2013
World

Egypt's Jon Stewart Says He Won't Back Down Amid Charges

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 8:19 pm

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef waves to his supporters as he enters Egypt's state prosecutor general's office in Cairo on March 31 to face charges of allegedly insulting Islam and the country's leader.
Amr Nabil AP

It's 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night, and Bassem Youssef's show is on TV screens at cafes throughout downtown Cairo.

It's the Egyptian political satirist's first show since he was summoned to the prosecutor general's office to answer questions about the jokes he makes on TV. After the interrogation, he was released on about $2,200 bail.

On this night, the show opens with a joke about Youssef himself.

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5:19am

Thu April 4, 2013
Middle East

As Egypt Negotiates IMF Loan, Food And Fuel Prices Soar

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 2:30 pm

An Egyptian woman carries a cooking gas canister in Cairo on Tuesday. The government just raised the price of gas as part of an energy package needed to satisfy the conditions of a $4.8 billion IMF loan. Opponents say some of the conditions disproportionately hurt the poor.
Khalil Hamra AP

Two years after the revolution, Egypt is in a deep economic crisis. It's running out of money to purchase crucial imports like wheat and fuel, both of which are subsidized by the government, and an infusion of cash is desperately needed.

While a delegation from the International Monetary Fund is in Cairo continuing negotiations on a $4.8 billion loan, Egyptians are strained by the rising costs of food — and the gas needed to cook it.

For Mosaad el Dabe, it's a disaster.

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2:44pm

Mon March 25, 2013
Africa

Islamists Say They Are Filling Vacuum Left By Egyptian State

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:59 pm

Egyptian men and boys pray at a mosque in Assiut, southern Egypt, that serves as the headquarters for Gamaa al-Islamiya, a group that once waged a bloody insurgency, attacking police and Christians in a campaign to create an Islamic state. Now the Islamist group says it's determined to ensure law and order in the area.
Nariman El-Mofty AP

In the lush Nile Valley city of Assiut, the police went on strike earlier this month, along with thousands of other cops across the country. They demanded the ouster of the minister of interior, and more guns and equipment to deal with anti-government protests.

A group of hard-line Islamists then stunned the city, which is south of Cairo, by promising to handle security during the strike. The next day, the policemen were back at work.

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4:43pm

Fri March 8, 2013
Africa

Police Officers Caught In The Middle Go On Strike In Egypt

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 6:03 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Now to Egypt, where police officers are on strike.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTERS)

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3:02am

Thu March 7, 2013
Africa

In Post-Revolution Egypt, Fears Of Police Abuse Deepening

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:29 am

An Egyptian military police officer argues with protesters during a demonstration on June 14, 2012, outside the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo.
Marwan Naamani AFP/Getty Images

Egypt's police force was the underpinning of former President Hosni Mubarak's iron-fisted regime, and it quickly became the enemy of Egypt's 2011 revolution.

Yet there has been little to no reform of the police force to date. Human rights groups say the police have begun to act like armed gangs, laying down collective punishment in restive areas across the country. But the police say they are the victims, under constant attack by anti-government protesters.

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5:07pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Middle East

For The First Time In Decades, Iran's President Visits Egypt

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 6:36 pm

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits an Islamic shrine Tuesday in Cairo. He became the first Iranian leader to visit Egypt since the 1970s.
Amr Nabil AP

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday became the first Iranian leader to visit Egypt since the 1970s, the latest sign of the thawing of relations between the rival Muslim nations.

Ahmadinejad received a red-carpet welcome as Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi greeted him on the tarmac at Cairo International Airport with a kiss on each cheek.

Under Egypt's former leader, Hosni Mubarak, a visit like this would never have happened.

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