Deborah Amos

Deborah Amos covers the Middle East for NPR News. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition.

Amos travels extensively across the Middle East covering a range of stories including the rise of well-educated Syria youth who are unqualified for jobs in a market-drive economy, a series focusing on the emerging power of Turkey and the plight of Iraqi refugees.

In 2009, Amos won the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting from Georgetown University and in 2010 was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Life Time Achievement Award by Washington State University. Amos was part of a team of reporters who won a 2004 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for coverage of Iraq. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1991-1992, Amos was returned to Harvard in 2010 as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School.

In 2003, Amos returned to NPR after a decade in television news, including ABC's Nightline and World News Tonight and the PBS programs NOW with Bill Moyers and Frontline.

When Amos first came to NPR in 1977, she worked first as a director and then a producer for Weekend All Things Considered until 1979. For the next six years, she worked on radio documentaries, which won her several significant honors. In 1982, Amos received the Prix Italia, the Ohio State Award, and a DuPont-Columbia Award for "Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown" and in 1984 she received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for "Refugees."

From 1985 until 1993, Amos spend most of her time at NPR reporting overseas, including as the London Bureau Chief and as an NPR foreign correspondent based in Amman, Jordan. During that time, Amos won several awards, including an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a Break thru Award, and widespread recognition for her coverage of the Gulf War in 1991.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Amos is also the author of Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East (Public Affairs, 2010) and Lines in the Sand: Desert Storm and the Remaking of the Arab World (Simon and Schuster, 1992).

Amos began her career after receiving a degree in broadcasting from the University of Florida at Gainesville.

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National Security
5:14 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

Saudi Arabia Softens Opposition To Iran Nuclear Deal

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 7:22 pm

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

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Parallels
4:09 am
Wed July 22, 2015

As Challenges Shift, Syria's Moderates Navigate Unexpected Territory

"What we are doing now has nothing to do with what we expected to be doing," says Rami Jarrah, who protested against the Assad regime in Damascus in 2011 and now runs a radio station from southern Turkey that broadcasts to civilians in rebel-controlled territory in northern Syria.
Alison Meuse NPR

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 1:06 pm

When Syrian activists launched an uprising in 2011, their goal was clear: to overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad. Now, as the war grinds into a fifth year, with more than 200,000 dead and militant Islamists seizing more ground, their revolt is hardly recognizable.

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Middle East
3:31 pm
Tue July 14, 2015

Smuggled Photos Document Thousands Of Detainee Deaths In Syria

Originally published on Thu July 16, 2015 2:04 pm

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

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Parallels
2:42 am
Tue July 14, 2015

Documenting Death Inside Syria's Secret Prisons

Images of dead bodies in Syrian prisons, taken by a Syrian government photographer, are displayed at the United Nations on March 10. The photographer, who goes by the pseudonym Caesar, took the pictures between 2011, when the Syrian uprising began, and 2013, when he fled the country. His photos will be on display at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat July 18, 2015 12:45 pm

A Syrian forensic photographer, who now uses the pseudonym Caesar, documented the death of thousands of detainees in Syria's brutal prison system. He made more than 55,000 high-resolution images before he fled the country, fearing for his safety, in 2013.

He spoke publicly for the first time in July 2014, when he appeared before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, wearing a blue jacket with a hood to protect his identity.

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Parallels
8:28 am
Sun June 14, 2015

For Yemen's Ousted President, A Five-Star Exile With No End In Sight

Houthi supporters in Yemen's capital hold up at a defaced poster of the ousted president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, during a demonstration against air strikes by Saudi Arabia. The Saudis, who have been bombing Yemen since March, are hosting Hadi and other officials from the former government.
Khaled Abdullah Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sun June 14, 2015 4:23 pm

When Houthi rebels stormed Yemen's capital in January, President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi was driven from power and placed under house arrest. He escaped and then fled by sea in March. Now, Hadi and his top ministers are comfortably ensconced in a five-star guest palace in Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh.

While the surrounding may be pleasant, the wait is wearing. Hadi and his aides still dream of a triumphant return home, though optimism is in short supply.

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Middle East
4:02 am
Thu June 11, 2015

Saudi Arabia's King Shakes Up Region With Assertive Foreign Policy

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 1:25 pm

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

Parallels
4:21 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Saudi Women Can't Drive To Work; So They're Flocking To The Internet

Nouf al-Mazrou, with the red head scarf in the center, runs a barbeque catering business from her home in the Saudi capital Riyadh. She's shown here at a gathering of Saudi women who have launched businesses on Instagram. The event was held at a private girls school.
Deborah Amos / NPR

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 8:14 am

In a country where women are prohibited from driving themselves to work, technology is opening new avenues to the job market in Saudi Arabia.

Thousands of women use Instagram, the popular photo-sharing site, to launch businesses that sell goods and services, from cupcakes to sushi, in the desert kingdom.

At a recent convention of Instagram businesses, hundreds of women set up booths at a private girls school in the capital Riyadh to share success stories.

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Parallels
2:49 am
Wed April 22, 2015

Last Armenian Village In Turkey Keeps Silent About 1915 Slaughter

Armenian refugees on the deck of the French cruiser that rescued them in 1915 during the massacre of the Armenian populations in the Ottoman Empire. The photo does not specify precisely where the refugees were from. However, residents of Vakifli, the last remaining Armenian village in Turkey, were rescued by a French warship that year.
Photo 12 Photo12/UIG/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 10:45 am

A hundred years ago this week, the Ottoman Empire began the killings and forced marches of Armenians in what most historians call the first genocide of the 20th century.

Turkey staunchly denies that label, saying the deaths — estimated by historians at around 1.5 million — were part of widespread ethnic fighting in a civil war.

Regardless of the label used, the result was destruction of virtually every Armenian community in the Ottoman Empire, which collapsed after the war. What was left of the country transitioned into the modern-day Republic of Turkey.

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Parallels
2:42 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Turkish Educator Pledges $10M To Set Up Universities For Syrian Refugees

Syrian children listen to a teacher during a lesson in a temporary classroom in Suruc refugee camp on March 25 in Suruc, Turkey. The camp is the largest of its kind in Turkey with a population of about 35,000 Syrians who have fled the ongoing civil war in their country.
Carl Court Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 1:23 pm

Once a sleepy border town, Reyhanli, Turkey, is now bursting with Syrian refugees, many of them school-age. More than half a million Syrian refugee children are out of school, and the education crisis is fueling an epidemic of early marriage, child labor and bleak futures.

"I just finished the 12th grade and I don't know what to do," says Abdullah Mustapha, a refugee from the Syrian town of Hama.

In fluent English, he talks about his dreams of a college education, but he doesn't speak Turkish well enough to pass the language test required for state universities.

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Parallels
4:35 am
Sun April 5, 2015

Treating Saudi Arabian Jihadists With Art Therapy

Dr. Awad Al-Yami, an art therapist trained at the University of Pennsylvania, is a counselor at a Saudi Arabian center that seeks to rehabilitate convicted terrorists. The center claims a success rate of more than 80 percent, but acknowledges that some return to extremist groups like al-Qaida.
Deborah Amos/NPR

Originally published on Sun April 5, 2015 10:19 am

There are golf carts and palm trees and an Olympic-sized pool at the Mohammed Bin Naif Counseling and Care Center, a sprawling complex on the outskirts of Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh.

Once a holiday resort, the walled compound still looks like one — and not a rehabilitation center for convicted terrorists.

In the past year, the country has expanded counter-terrorism laws that make it illegal for Saudis to fight in Syria and Iraq. The kingdom has also expanded the terrorism rehab centers.

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Parallels
6:20 am
Sat March 21, 2015

Under ISIS, Life In Mosul Takes A Turn For The Bleak

Kurdish peshmerga fighters keep watch during the battle with Islamic State militants on the outskirts of Mosul on Jan. 21.
Azad Lashkari Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun March 22, 2015 1:37 pm

Thousands of Sunni Arabs from Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, escaped to Erbil at the end of the summer when the militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State first overran the city and imposed a draconian social code.

Among them is a man we'll call the professor — he, his wife and their children fled Mosul in August. He doesn't want his name published because his extended family still lives there under ISIS control.

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Parallels
6:50 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

In Tikrit Offensive, Local Sunnis, Shiite Militias Are Unlikely Allies

Shiite fighters and Sunni fighters, who have joined Shiite militia groups known collectively as Hashid Shaabi ("Popular Mobilization") to fight the Islamic State, gesture Tuesday next to former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's palaces in the Iraqi town of Ouja, near Tikrit.
Thaier Al-Sudani Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 11:53 am

The graying city mayor agrees to meet a few hours before he heads to the battlefront. He is haggard after living in exile since June, when the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, swept into his city — al-Sharqat, Iraq, a hour's drive north of Tikrit.

Ali Dodah al-Jabouri has a reason to fight: Islamic State militants killed his brother and 18 other relatives. But as part of a prominent Sunni Arab tribe, he is joining an unusual alliance with Iraqi Shiite militias backed and armed by Iran.

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Parallels
2:11 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Via Satellite, Tracking The Plunder Of Middle East Cultural History

Dura Europos, a Roman walled city in eastern Syria, dates back to 330 B.C. The main gate is shown here in a photo from 2010. It's one of the many important archaeological sites militants of the self-styled Islamic State have ransacked and damaged.
EPA /Deir Ezz-Zour Antiquities Department/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 8:50 am

Southern Turkey, near the Syrian border, is the crossroads for an extensive smuggling operation of ancient artifacts. Those transactions are held in secret, often in towns along the border.

But high overheard, eyes are watching: satellites scanning heritage sites, sending alarming imagery to Washington, D.C.

From her office in the nation's capital, analyst Susan Wolfinbarger monitors the ransacking of these sites in Syria and Iraq on a large-screen computer.

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Parallels
3:16 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Saudi Girls Can Now Take Gym Class, But Not Everyone Is Happy

Members of a Saudi women's soccer team, Rana Al Khateeb (left) and captain Rawh Abdullah, practice at a secret location in the capital Riyadh in 2012. Saudi women have had only rare opportunities to play sports. The country sent women to the Olympics for the first time in 2012 and now girls will be allowed to take physical education classes at public schools.
Hassan Ammar AP

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 4:32 pm

When it comes to females and sports, Saudi Arabia is starting to change.

Saudi Arabia sent its first female competitors to the Olympics in 2012, after years of sending only men. The public schools, like many institutions, are segregated by gender, and only boys have been allowed to play sports. But girls will now be allowed to take part in their own sports and exercise programs, a move that is opposed by some hard-liners.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a new thing — and I really like it. I wish I was in school so I can have that," says Jowhara al-Theyeb.

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Parallels
3:06 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Saudi Arabia Ramps Up Training To Repel Homegrown Terrorists

These pop-up targets are part of an advanced drill, named "friend or foe," that tests shooter reaction times. Some targets have a camera, and others, like these pictured, have a gun. The shooter must decide within seconds whether to shoot.
Deborah Amos NPR

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 7:07 pm

Many Americans believe that Saudi Arabia has links to Islamist militants, but the Saudis say they are victims of terrorism, too.

The self-proclaimed Islamic State has recruited more than 2,000 young Saudi men, despite government programs to stop them.

Now, the Saudi government shares the fears of the U.S. and Europe: that these violent young men will come home and carry out attacks. There are signs that's already happening. As a result, the Saudis are ramping up training for counterterrorism missions.

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