Kelly McEvers

After many years in the Middle East, Kelly McEvers is back home and working as a national correspondent based at NPR West. She previously ran NPR's Beirut bureau, where she earned a George Foster Peabody award, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia award, a Gracie award, and an Overseas Press Club mention for her 2012 coverage of the Syrian conflict. She recently made a radio documentary about being a war correspondent with renowned radio producer Jay Allison of Transom.org.

In 2011, she traveled undercover to follow Arab uprisings in places where brutal crackdowns followed the early euphoria of protests. She has been tear-gassed in Bahrain; she has spent a night in a tent city with a Yemeni woman who would later share the Nobel Peace Prize; and she spent weeks inside Syria with anti-government rebels known as the Free Syrian Army.

In Iraq, she covered the final withdrawal of U.S. troops and the political chaos that gripped the country afterward. Before arriving in Iraq in 2010, McEvers was one of the first Western correspondents to be based, full-time, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In 2008 and 2009, McEvers was part of a team that produced the award-winning "Working" series for American Public Media's business and finance show, Marketplace. She profiled a war fixer in Beirut, a smuggler in Dubai, a sex-worker in Baku, a pirate in the Strait of Malacca and a marriage broker in Vietnam.

She previously covered the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia as a freelancer for NPR and other outlets. She started her journalism career in 1997 at the Chicago Tribune, where she worked as a metro reporter and documented the lives of female gang members for the Sunday magazine.

Her writing also has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Monthly, Slate and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work has aired on This American Life, The World, and the BBC. She's taught radio and journalism in the U.S. and abroad.

She lives with her family in California, where she's still very bad at surfing.

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Middle East
4:27 am
Fri July 29, 2011

Bahrain Sets Up Panel To Investigate Unrest

Tents burn on March 16 as Bahraini security troops raid the site of a pro-democracy sit-in at Pearl Square, in the capital, Manama.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

The government of Bahrain has invited a renowned international legal scholar to investigate what went on during mass protests in February and March, and the brutal crackdown on the largely Shiite opposition that ensued. More than 30 people died, hundreds were detained and beaten, and thousands were fired from their jobs.

The commission is headed by Cherif Bassiouni, an Egyptian-born legal expert who has investigated war crimes and human rights violations in the Balkans, Rwanda, Afghanistan and, most recently, Libya.

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Iraq
5:23 pm
Thu July 21, 2011

Flow Of Fighters Shifting On Iraq-Syria Border

The crackdown on protesters in Syria is spreading to the far corners of the country — recently, to a remote town on the border with Iraq in Syria's eastern desert.

This tribal region has long been known as a transit point for fighters and weapons coming into Iraq during the war, and for refugees leaving Iraq for Syria. Now, those routes might be reversing.

Trouble began in the Syrian town of Al-Bukamal this past weekend. Like in so many Syrian cities and towns, people took to the streets in protest against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

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Iraq
12:01 am
Wed July 20, 2011

In Iraq's Tahrir Square, A Plea For Missing Relatives

A woman at the protest holds a photograph of missing male relatives.
Isra al Rubei'i NPR

Nearly every Friday, there's a small Arab uprising in Baghdad. The location is Tahrir Square, a plaza marked by a renowned modernist sculpture that depicts Iraqis in a lifelong struggle for freedom. Alongside young protesters calling for an end to corruption and better services is a distinctive and resolute group: women in black robes holding photographs of their male relatives — the mothers, wives and sisters of the missing.

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Iraq
3:51 pm
Tue July 19, 2011

Fiery Iraqi Cleric's Political Party Puts On New Face

Originally published on Tue July 19, 2011 3:44 pm

At a recent press conference, Iraq's minister of planning, Ali Youssef al-Shukri, stepped to the podium, gave a brief and somber blessing, and announced the issue of the day: a new mechanism for quality control of imports to Iraq.

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Iraq
3:37 pm
Mon July 11, 2011

Dispute Over Key Jobs Stalls Iraq's Government

Iraqi demonstrators shout slogans during a weekly protest against corruption, unemployment and poor public services in the war-torn country at Baghdad's Tahrir Square on July 8. Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of Parliament, says it's the Iraqi people who are losing out as a political stalemate continues.
Ali al-Saadi AFP/Getty Images

Even though it's been nearly eight months since political rivals in Iraq came together to form a coalition government, key positions in that government have yet to be filled, and political infighting continues.

At issue is the fact that Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who's backed by the country's Shiites, and his main rival, Ayad Allawi, who's backed by the Sunnis, simply cannot agree on who should run the ministries of defense and interior.

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