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.

Twenty people were referred to criminal court in Egypt today, among them three Al-Jazeera English journalists who have been in prison since Dec. 29. The charges are chilling.

Egyptian authorities say Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy was running a terrorist cell out of a swank hotel in the upscale district of Zamalek. He was aided by four foreigners, according to the charges.



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


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.



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.


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

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.

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.

There have been three deadly explosions in Cairo on Friday. First, a car bomb targeted Egypt police headquarters in the heart of Cairo. The bombings come on the eve of the anniversary of the start of the 2011 uprising.



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.


And I'm Melissa Block.

Egyptians go to the polls over the next two days to vote on a draft constitution. The military-backed government is pushing for a "yes" vote amid indications that military chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will soon announce his intention to run for the presidency.

Egyptian voters go the polls Tuesday and Wednesday in a constitutional referendum. The vote comes at a time Egypt is witnessing what many analysts call a full-blown counterrevolution. While the country remains dangerously polarized, the space for dissent is closing. The government continues a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, but now it's also targeting the youth activists whose names and faces are synonymous with the 2011 revolution.

Coptic Christians in Egypt celebrated their Christmas on Tuesday in an atmosphere of uncertainty. There were dozens of attacks on churches and Christian homes both during and after the tenure of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Coptic leaders publicly supported the military coup that ousted Morsi.



Let's turn next to Egypt, where the protest movement is shifting from the street to university campuses. Student activism is now at the heart of dissent against the military-backed government. But like Egypt itself, this movement is divided. Groups of secular and Islamist protesters are working separately, closing down campuses and demanding that the police be tried for their crimes. From Cairo, NPR's Leila Fadel sent this report.

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.



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.

Ghana qualifies for its third straight World Cup — defeating Egypt 7-3 on total goals after a 2-1 loss. This was the first international match in Cairo in two years. A bloody soccer riot there left dozens dead in 2011. It was also the first match since authorities lifted the curfew that went into effect after widespread clashes between security forces and Muslim Brotherhood supporters, protesting the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.

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.

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.

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.

There were chaotic scenes in a Cairo courtroom Monday at the start of the trial of former president Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected leader who was ousted by the military in July.



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.

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.

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.



Now to Egypt, where militants carried out a series of attacks against government targets today. Nine people were killed and dozens more were wounded. The incidents follow deadly clashes yesterday and add to concern that the political crisis, sparked by the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, could lead to an insurgency.

NPR's Leila Fadel sent this report.

More than 50 people are dead after security forces and Islamist protesters clashed. Supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and backers of the military that deposed him poured into the streets and turned on each other. Sunday's death toll was the highest on a single day since Aug. 14 when security forces raided two sit-in protest camps by Morsi supporters, killing hundreds.



To Egypt now where the government crackdown on the now banned Muslim Brotherhood is causing rifts across the country. NPR's Leila Fadel traveled some 70 miles south of Cairo to a city on the banks of the Nile where everyone is on edge.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: The walls in Beni Suef tell the story of the battle that has engulfed Egypt since the military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi on July 3rd.




It's the middle of the afternoon when we arrive at the tiny family apartment in a working-class neighborhood of Tunis. Um Ahmed cracks open the door when we arrive, ushers us in and quickly slams the door shut. She then closes a second steel gate, which she had installed after her son, Ahmed, was arrested.

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.

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.



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Egypt continues to grapple with fallout from the military overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in July. President Morsi was propelled to electoral power through the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, the organization is under intense pressure as security forces arrest its members. Many hundreds have been killed in a security crackdown and a political solution seems all but impossible. And some fear that Egypt is returning to a military state. NPR's Leila Fadel sent this report.

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.