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.

Three years ago, Egypt's military carried out a swift and successful coup, ousting a conservative Muslim ruler and party that had been elected. A part of Turkey's armed forces attempted a very similar overthrow on July 15.

In both countries, the two most populous in the region, democracy suffered a setback in the wake of the military actions.

The parallels mostly end there.

Turks survived a chaotic and bloody attempted military takeover on Friday that left more than 260 dead. Since then, the government has suspended thousands of public and private sector employees — everyone from teachers to police officers. Meanwhile, the parliament has ratified a state of emergency that will last up to three months. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says it's necessary to protect democracy. But many Turks are afraid of what's to come.

Turkey's government says it is removing from government institutions anyone it considers loyal to Fethullah Gulen, an elderly Turkish cleric who has been living in eastern Pennsylvania since the late 1990s.

Turkish officials are blaming Gulen, who has a large following inside and outside Turkey, for a failed coup last Friday, an accusation Gulen denies.

Meanwhile, the broadcasting licenses for at least two dozen Turkish radio and TV stations have been canceled for alleged links to Gulen, whose extradition Turkey says it will seek from the United States.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

An electronic billboard hangs on the side of a towering government building in eastern Cairo, the home of Egypt's statistical agency, CAPMAS. In an alarming red, the billboard ticks off the estimated number of Egyptians, and on a recent day it said there were more than 91 million. Or 91,034,024, to be precise.

Monday's bombing in the Saudi city of Medina stands out, even among the wave of terrorist attacks in recent days. It wasn't the death toll. It didn't produce the scenes of carnage like Saturday's bombing in Baghdad that killed nearly 200 people or last week's attack on the airport in Istanbul that left 44 dead.

It was the chosen target — Medina, the site of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad's tomb and his house.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Khaled el-Balshy greets a fellow journalist with two kisses on the cheek and a hearty handshake in his office. He has just been released on bail after being charged with harboring fugitives and publishing false news.

Balshy is the undersecretary of the journalists union in Egypt, also called the Press Syndicate. Balshy; the head of the union, Yehia Qalash; and another board member, Gamal Abdel Raheem, are facing trial on Saturday and the prospect of going to prison, as President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi continues a broad crackdown on critics.

Constantin Ibanda Mola unlocks the door to his small, two-bedroom apartment in a poor suburb of Rabat, Morocco. 


Mola was an economist in his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. But as a migrant in Morocco who makes just over $300 a month, this apartment is a luxury. He shows me the tiny kitchen, the little balcony that opens near the sink and his bedroom.

"I'm very happy here," he says.

Olfa Hamrouni sits in a café in central Tunis and recounts how she lost her two oldest daughters to ISIS.

Their story starts — as many stories about teenagers do — with a mother's attempt to curb her children's behavior. The older girls were getting a little rebellious, playing wild music and wearing skull-and-bones T-shirts. They'd been acting out, she says, since their father left the family with no money and no support.

"After the divorce, the two girls were lost. They didn't know what to do. My oldest girl, Ghofran, she was looking for a reason to live," she says.

Ben Guerdane is a dusty town in Tunisia's south, just 20 miles from the border with Libya, a roiling nation of militias and guns galore. It's a smuggling town, and it depends on the nearly 300-mile border with Libya to survive.

In more normal times, it's everyday products that get smuggled, but these days something more nefarious is coming across that border — weapons and militants.

The spillover from the conflict in Libya is setting off alarm bells in Tunisia, threatening a fragile democracy in the one place that emerged from the 2011 Arab revolts as a bright spot.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In northeast Scotland, there is a cluster of homes on the outskirts of a pristine golf course near Aberdeen owned by none other than Donald Trump. The U.S. presidential hopeful's business venture promised thousands of jobs, tourism and a new way to diversify the oil economy.

Trump wanted to build the golf course in Scotland, he said, because his mother was born there. But almost a decade later, he has angered his neighbors and turned some of his former supporters against him.

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