Kelly McEvers

After three years covering the Middle East for NPR, Kelly McEvers is taking on a new country: the U.S. In the fall of 2013, she will become a correspondent for NPR's National Desk.

Previous to this role, she was NPR's international correspondent based in Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to moving into that reporting location in January 2012, McEvers was based at NPR's Baghdad Bureau.

In 2011, she traveled undercover to follow Arab uprisings in places where brutal crackdowns quickly followed the early euphoria of protests. While colleagues were celebrating with protesters in Egypt or rebels in Libya, McEvers was hunkered down with underground activists in Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria. 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 has spent long hours with the shadowy group of 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 has gripped the country since. Before arriving in Iraq in 2010, McEvers was one of the first Western correspondents to be based, full-time, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She also covered Yemen and other Persian Gulf countries.

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 filed sound-rich profiles of 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.

From 2004-2006, McEvers covered the former Soviet Union for PRI's The World. She investigated the Russian military's role in the violent end to the three-day school siege by Chechen militants in the Russian town of Beslan. She was later accused of spying and detained for three days by Russian security forces near the border with Chechnya.

After 9/11, McEvers covered Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore for NPR and other outlets — including in-depth stories on Jemaah Islamiyah, the region's Al Qaeda-linked terrorist network that planned and executed deadly attacks at two Bali nightclubs in 2002.

McEvers was based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 1999-2000 for the BBC World Service. From there, she filed her first NPR story on then-emerging plans to try former members of the Khmer Rouge. She is one of the first reporters to knock on the door of Nuon Chea, the so-called "Brother No. 2" who served under Pol Pot.

Beginning her journalism career in 1997 at the Chicago Tribune, McEvers worked as a metro reporter and spent nearly a year documenting the lives of female gang members for the Sunday magazine.

In addition to NPR, her radio work has appeared on PRI/Chicago Public Radio's This American Life, NPR's Hearing Voices and On the Media, American Public Media's Weekend America, and the CBC. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books Online, The Washington Monthly, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is a founder of Six Billion, an online magazine that was a regular feature at Harvard University's Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism.

McEvers served as a fellow with the International Reporting Project at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies. She earned a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and has been a professor of journalism at universities in the U.S. and abroad. She has a bachelor's in English literature and political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Middle East
5:45 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Yemen Election: One Person, One Vote, One Candidate

A man casts his vote during Yemen's presidential elections in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Only one person was on the ballot: Vice President Abdrabu Mansour Hadi.
Khaled Abdullah Reuters/Landov

Millions of people in Yemen turned out to vote Tuesday in an unusual presidential election. There was only one candidate and only one way to vote — yes.

That candidate, Abdrabu Mansour Hadi, was the vice president under Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled Yemen for more than three decades. Saleh finally agreed to step down and transfer power to his vice president after nearly a year of mass protests against his rule.

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Middle East
7:43 am
Sun February 19, 2012

Food, Supplies Short For Syrian Regime's Opposition

Syrians demonstrate against the regime after Friday prayers in the north Syrian city of Idlib on Friday. Thousands of Syrians rallied to demand Bashar al-Assad's ouster, as the embattled president's forces unleashed their heaviest pounding yet of Homs in a brutal bid to crush dissent, monitors said.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

The offensive started on the city of Homs, where neighborhoods that have seen some of the largest protests and armed resistance to the government are now under constant fire from tanks, rockets and mortars.

Homs is in central Syria, and it is thought that if the regime lost it to the opposition, that would cut the country in half. The offensive continued in the city of Zabadani, a mountain resort town just outside of Syria's capital of Damascus.

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Middle East
3:20 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Syria's Neighbors Fear That Fighting Could Spread

The fighting in Syria was seen as a spark for clashes in the Lebanese city of Tripoli last week. Here a Lebanese woman and her daughter look out the window of their bullet-pocked home in Tripoli on Sunday, Feb. 12.
Adel Karroum EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 7:55 pm

Now that the uprising in Syria has turned into a heavily armed conflict, many in the region are worried that the violence will spread beyond its territory.

Syria borders Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Israel, as well as Lebanon, where clashes erupted last Friday in the northern coastal city of Tripoli.

Sunni Muslims in one Tripoli neighborhood began protesting against Syrian President Bashar Assad. They put up a huge banner on the side of a mosque that had a picture of Assad, wearing a military uniform, with a big red X across his face.

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Middle East
12:01 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Syrian Activists Live Stream Their Revolution

Activists say this image, taken from a video uploaded to YouTube, shows Syrians outside a field hospital in Homs last week.
AFP/Getty Images

Syrian troops have fired rockets and mortars at neighborhoods in the city of Homs that have most fiercely resisted the government throughout the uprising.

Mainstream journalists are barred from entering Homs, so a team of activists decided to record the offensive themselves. The activists positioned their cameras atop buildings in the city. Each morning the view is blue sky, a minaret, a sea of rooftops. Then come the booms.

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Middle East
8:00 am
Sat February 11, 2012

Rising Violence Claims A General In Syria's Capital

Syria's state-run news agency says a high-ranking military officer has been assassinated. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports the attack comes as violence in Syria is quickly escalating.

Middle East
3:00 pm
Sat February 4, 2012

More Than 250 Killed In Syrian Violence In Homs

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

NPR's Kelly McEvers has been following events in Syria from neighboring Lebanon, and she joins me now from Beirut. Kelly, as we just heard, the UN Security Council has failed to agree on a resolution condemning Bashar Assad. Any reaction from Syria?

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Middle East
10:04 am
Fri January 27, 2012

U.N. Security Council Meets On Syria Solutions

Violence is increasing in Syria, with activists reporting multiple clashes in cities. The U.N. Security Council is meeting Friday to discuss a resolution on the conflict there. It's also likely to ask President Bashar Assad to step down.

Middle East
2:10 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

The State Of Syria: Civil War Or Vicious Stalemate?

Syrian army defectors wave the Syrian revolution flag Thursday, shortly after they defected to join the anti-regime protesters.
STR AP

Originally published on Tue January 31, 2012 12:00 pm

One thing that's certain about the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad is that there is nothing romantic about it.

Unlike Egypt, there's no Tahrir Square filled with hundreds of thousands of people calling for democracy. Unlike Libya, there's no Mad Max warriors in the desert fighting a dictator with guns they've welded to the backs of their pickup trucks.

Instead, grim news seeps out piecemeal from unofficial sources. Most of the reports are little more than body counts, with most of the fatalities blamed on the Syrian security forces.

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The Arab Spring: One Year Later
12:01 am
Thu January 5, 2012

Bahrain: The Revolution That Wasn't

Bahrain is the one Arab country where the government has suppressed a major uprising. Here, protesters wave flags at the Pearl Roundabout in the capital Manama on Feb. 20, 2011, when the demonstrations were at their peak.
John Moore/Getty Images

Arab revolts against secular leaders have been much more successful over the past year than those against monarchs. The one monarchy that faced a serious threat was the tiny Persian Gulf island of Bahrain. But after weeks of protests, troops from Saudi Arabia rolled into the country, the Bahraini regime imposed martial law, and a government crackdown followed. Kelly McEvers made several trips to Bahrain this past year and filed this report as part of NPR's series looking at the Arab Spring and where it stands today.

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Iraq
4:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Former Child Soldier In Sudan Helps U.S. Exit Iraq

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 7:20 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

It's not clear how the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il will affect nuclear talks. Just ahead, we'll explore the concerns about the power transition in the secretive communist state.

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Leaving Iraq
7:43 am
Sun December 18, 2011

Time To 'Heal' As U.S. Troops Leave Iraq

The "end of days," as soldiers were calling it, started at Contingency Operating Base Adder in southern Iraq. The base was the main staging ground for all U.S. troops exiting the country, and it was the last U.S. base to close.

There were a lot of lasts at COB Adder: the last signing ceremony, formally handing the last base over to the Iraqi government, the last briefing, the last patrol, the last hot meal.

The final convoy from the base left Iraq and crossed the border into Kuwait at dawn Sunday.

A 'Difficult Undertaking'

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Leaving Iraq
6:35 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Internally Displaced Iraqis Struggle For Permanency

Makeshift houses in Baghdad are the only homes some internally displaced Iraqis know. Many are too afraid to go back to their original homes; for them, the threat of being targeted is still very real.
Mohammed Ameen Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 1:39 pm

Nadia Karim Hassan says she stayed in her Baghdad neighborhood as long as she could, but by the height of the sectarian war in 2007, too many fellow Shiites were getting killed, and she had to leave the area and move into an abandoned building.

As American troops pull out of Iraq, one of the most striking consequences of the war remains unresolved today: the issue of people who were forced out of their homes and still can't go back. Relief organizations estimate there are some 2 million displaced people inside Iraq.

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Leaving Iraq
5:28 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

U.S. Flag Comes Down, And Iraq War Is Officially Over

A U.S. convoy departs from Contingency Operating Station Kalsu, a U.S. base about 60 miles south of Baghdad. For many U.S. troops, it is the last stop in Iraq on the way out of the country.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 8:22 pm

After nearly nine years of war in Iraq, a subdued flag-lowering ceremony in Baghdad on Thursday marked the official end of one of the longest U.S. military missions in American history.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta watched over what's known as the casing of the colors — when the U.S. military flag is put away and sent back to the United States. The flag will then be retired and perhaps later go on display at the Pentagon.

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Iraq
3:39 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

How Much Influence Will Iran Have In Iraq?

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (left) shakes hands with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during an official meeting in Tehran last year.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 9:36 am

Earlier this month, a ceremony took place in Baghdad that was unthinkable under Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein: Ashura, the annual Shiite ritual marking the slaying of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and one of the most revered figures in Shiite Islam.

As the trumpets sounded in Baghdad's notorious Shiite slum of Sadr City, boys and men wearing white shrouds brought swords down onto their shaven heads. Thick red blood gushed onto their faces. Hussein sacrificed for us, the belief goes, and devoted followers are ready to sacrifice for him.

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Iraq
12:01 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Tensions Feared As U.S. Leaves Disputed Iraqi City

Iraqi soldiers take part in a graduation parade in Kirkuk on Monday. The oil-rich city is a mix of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and others. Its future status is a source of tension within Iraq.
Marwan Ibrahim AFP/Getty Images

As American troops leave Iraq, the one place in the country that's most likely to erupt into violence, at least in the short term, is the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

The city is a complicated ethnic mix of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and others. The question of whether it belongs to the autonomous Kurdish region in the north or to the Arab-dominated central government of Baghdad has long been a point of contention.

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NPR Story
8:00 am
Sun December 11, 2011

Iraq PM, Obama Get Together To Break Apart

Originally published on Sun December 11, 2011 9:58 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

Nearly nine years after the Iraq War began, the U.S. is winding down its involvement there. U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by December 31st. The Obama administration says what comes next will be a new phase in the relationship with Iraq. What that involves will most likely be part of the discussion when Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, heads to Washington to meet with President Obama tomorrow.

NPR's Kelly McEvers reports from Baghdad.

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Middle East
4:09 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

A Brutal Detention, And A Defiant Syrian Activist

This summer, NPR told the story of a young man in Syria who worked a regular job by day and was a protester by night. At the end of that story, the activist made a prediction that was later tweeted to thousands of people: "One day my time is coming. Until the world realizes what's happening in Syria, they will try and get us all."

Many weeks later, his prediction came true.

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Middle East
5:02 am
Wed December 7, 2011

On The Run, Under The Radar, With Syria's Rebels

Riad al-Asaad says he's the leader of the Free Syrian Army, a group of Syrian defectors who recently posted this video on the group's Facebook page.
Free Syrian Army AP

In Syria, the clashes between the opposition movement and the government's security forces are starting to look more and more like a civil war. Protests across the country still remain mostly peaceful, but soldiers who have defected are assembling a force called the Free Syrian Army, which has been launching attacks on government targets. NPR's Kelly McEvers recently met up with members of the Free Syrian Army when she crossed from Lebanon into Syria on a secret nighttime excursion.

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Middle East
3:00 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

Report: Bahrain Used Excessive Force On Protesters

Bahraini protesters run for cover after police fired tear gas canisters to disperse them during a demonstration in the village of Diraz, northwest of Bahrain, Feb. 14. A special commission issued a report Wednesday that found excessive force was used during a crackdown on an anti-government movement that began in February.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 23, 2011 6:32 pm

In the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, a special commission accused the government of using excessive force against protesters during an anti-government uprising earlier this year.

The report released Wednesday was unusual in that it was requested by the government itself. But questions remain over what the government will do with the findings.

The commission that issued the report was a rare thing in the Arab world. At a gilded palace with chandeliers and red carpets, a panel of international jurists sat in judgment of a king.

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Middle East
8:00 am
Sat November 12, 2011

Arab League Suspends Syria; Other Options Unclear

In an emergency meeting on Saturday, the Arab League voted to suspend Syria, warning that the country could face sanctions if it does not end its brutal crackdown on protestors. Meanwhile, NATO leaders say a Libya-style military intervention is out of the question. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports on what other choices remain.

Middle East
4:33 pm
Tue November 8, 2011

Disappearances In Lebanon Haunt Syrian Activists

Syria's brutal repression of an anti-government movement that began in March continues — even outside its borders. In neighboring Lebanon, the disappearance of an elderly government critic underscores the long reach of the Syrian regime.

Until recently, 89-year-old Shibli al-Aisamy spent most of his time in the United States. As a founder of the pan-Arab Ba'ath Party in the 1960s, Aisamy had once served as a vice president of Syria. He later broke with then-Syrian President Hafez Assad, the father of the current president, Bashar Assad.

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Middle East
3:00 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

Assad Warns Against Outside Intervention

Syrian President Bashar Assad warned of an "earthquake" if any outside forces intervened in his country. Meanwhile, protesters say dozens of people were killed in the last few days, making this one of the bloodiest weekends since the uprising began.

Iraq
4:00 am
Mon October 24, 2011

U.S. Troop Immunity A Sticking Point In Iraq Talks

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 7:03 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

And I'm Ari Shapiro.

We'll head to Iraq now to take a closer look at the reasons behind the U.S. decision to pull all American troops out of the country by the end of the year. The two sides are talking about whether some kind of training force will return to Iraq next year. As NPR's Kelly McEvers reports, the sticking point has been whether American troops can face trial in Iraqi courts.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

How Do Iraqis Feel About The Troop Withdrawal?

How do Iraqis feel about the U.S. decision to withdraw all its remaining troops by the end of this year? The issue of a residual American force to train the Iraqi military was hotly debated in Baghdad.

Middle East
3:00 pm
Wed October 19, 2011

Turkish Troops Stage Incursion Into Iraq

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, host: Turkish troops are in what Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is calling hot pursuit. They're chasing Kurdish rebels who ambushed and killed Turkish soldiers earlier today along Turkey's border with Iraq. Turkish and Iraqi media are reporting that these troops have crossed into Iraq to retaliate against the militants.

NPR's Kelly McEvers has the story from Baghdad.

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