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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5:34am

Sat July 25, 2015
The Salt

Put An Herb In It: Lebanon's Fresh Approach To Beer And Cocktails

Originally published on Sun July 26, 2015 11:38 am

At Anise, a bar in Beirut, Lebanon, beloved local herbs like za'atar, sage and rosemary are making their way into cocktails. "We want to do something fresh in our cocktails," says co-owner Marwan Matar.
Alice Fordham NPR

The sun has very nearly set on Beirut, and in a bar called Anise, they're mixing the first cocktail of the evening.

There's vodka, vermouth and iced glasses. And next to the bunches of mint for mojitos are sage, wild oregano, rosemary and the Lebanese favorite, za'atar, a kind of wild thyme.

Here in Lebanon, mixologists and brewmasters are taking a national cuisine and reimagining it in liquid form.

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7:57am

Sun July 5, 2015
Parallels

Tunisia Seeks Its Way On A Winding, Bumpy Path

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 1:05 am

In Kairouan, Tunisia, Muslims visit the Great Mosque, one of the oldest and best-known mosques in North Africa. Tunisia has made more political progress than other Arab Spring countries, but it has suffered two major terror attacks in recent months.
Anadolu Agency Getty Images

Editor's Note: An attacker opened fire on a beach in Tunisia and killed 38 people on June 26. NPR's Alice Fordham went to cover the story. She used to live in Tunisia and reflects on how the country's changed in recent years.

Two years ago, I first went to the town of Kairouan, one of the holiest sites in Islam. Tear gas drifted around the beautiful old stones of the Great Mosque and nervous police sheltered in small patches of shade. They were there preventing a rally by an Islamic extremist group who wanted to wave black flags and chant intolerant slogans.

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5:08am

Thu July 2, 2015
Parallels

Sunnis Flee The Islamic State, But Still Fall Under Suspicion

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

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

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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4:29pm

Mon June 29, 2015
Africa

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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7:44am

Mon June 29, 2015
Africa

After Slaughter Of Tourists, Tunisia Cracks Down On Islamists

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

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

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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5:08pm

Sat June 27, 2015
World

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/.

4:07pm

Tue June 23, 2015
Parallels

Iraqi Soldiers, Generals Shift The Blame For Battlefield Defeats

Originally published on Wed June 24, 2015 9:26 am

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

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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5:07am

Tue June 16, 2015
Middle East

Al-Qaida's No. 2 Leader Is Killed In U.S. Drone Strike

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 7:59 am

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

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5:18pm

Mon June 8, 2015
Iraq

Ramadi, Iraq, Offensive Delays Efforts To Take Back Mosul

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

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

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7:31am

Sun May 24, 2015
Parallels

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

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

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

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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9:33am

Fri May 22, 2015
Parallels

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

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

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

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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6:47pm

Tue May 19, 2015
Parallels

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

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

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

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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10:26am

Thu April 30, 2015
Parallels

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

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

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

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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4:39pm

Wed April 1, 2015
Parallels

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

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

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

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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3:23pm

Wed March 25, 2015
Parallels

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

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

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

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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