Eric Westervelt

NPR foreign correspondent Eric Westervelt recently wrapped up a multi-year assignment in the Middle East covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories. He took up his new position as a Berlin-based European Correspondent for NPR in May 2009.

Westervelt has reported on conflicts and their repercussions across the Middle East region for NPR, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the second Lebanon war between Hezbollah and Israel, and the on going Palestinian-Israel conflict, including fighting in the Gaza Strip ranging from internal Palestinian violence to multiple Israeli offensives in the territory. He reported in-depth on issues across the occupied West Bank and Israel. He has also reported from the Horn of Africa, Yemen and the Persian Gulf region.

Westervelt reported on the war in Iraq from the initial US-led ground invasion in 2003, traveling with the lead unit of the Army's Third Infantry Division. He later helped cover the insurgency; sectarian violence; and the on-going struggle rebuild the country in the post Saddam Hussein-era.

Westervelt's coverage at home and abroad has helped NPR win broadcast journalism's highest honors, including contributions to a 2002 George Foster Peabody Award to NPR for coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the US and its aftermath; a 2003 Alfred I. DuPont - Columbia University award for NPR's coverage of 9-11 and the war in Afghanistan; as well as duPont-Columbia University top honors again in 2004 and again in 2007 for NPR's coverage of the war in Iraq and affect on Iraqi society, among other awards.

Westervelt's reports are heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and NPR's hourly newscasts, and appear online at

Prior to his Middle East assignment, Westervelt covered military affairs for NPR News reporting on a wide range of defense, national security and foreign policy issues. Before that Westervelt reported for NPR's National Desk, covering some of the biggest stories in recently memory, including the shootings at Columbine High School, the explosion of TWA flight 800 and the Florida presidential recount. For the National Desk Westervelt also reported on national trends in law enforcement and crime fighting, including police tactics, use of force, the drug war, racial profiling and the legal and political battles over firearms in America. Westervelt's work on the National Desk also contributed to another Peabody Award for an NPR series on the most influential American musical works of the 20th Century.

Before joining NPR, Westervelt worked as a reporter in Oregon and a news director and reporter in New Hampshire and reported for Monitor Radio, the broadcast edition of the Christian Science Monitor.

Westervelt is a graduate of the Putney School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He and his wife Lisa currently live in Germany.




Wed May 11, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Germany Draws Criticism For Sitting Out Libya Effort

NATO stepped up its attacks on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces this week, with intensified airstrikes on ammunition, supply and command sites in several cities, including the capital, Tripoli.

But one of the pillars of NATO — Germany — was not involved. Germany is not participating in the U.N.-backed effort to protect Libyan civilians.

Germany's decision not to take part in the NATO air war has come in for withering criticism at home and abroad. And it may have dealt a blow to the country's efforts to win a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

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Sun May 8, 2011
Conflict In Libya

NATO Official: More Progress Than Meets Eye In Libya

There's little sign of an end to the conflict in Libya, nearly two months after Western fighter jets began bombing leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces. The disorganized anti-Gadhafi rebels have been unable to break out of their stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya despite the air support.

And with signs of a military deadlock, some in the West are calling for a renewed focus on isolating the Libyan dictator financially and politically. But NATO commanders leading the war effort caution patience and insist there has been more progress than meets the eye.

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Fri April 15, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Has NATO Hit A Wall In Libya?

President Obama and the leaders of Britain and France published a joint letter Friday saying that as long as Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi remains in power, NATO and its partners must maintain their operations.

With Libyan rebels and Gadhafi's forces locked in a stalemate, though, there's concern the NATO operation may be insufficient to protect civilians — let alone force the dictator from power.

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Wed April 6, 2011

Rebels Retreat Again; Leader Blames NATO

Despite support from NATO aircraft, rebels in eastern Libya have failed to gain ground against forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. Tuesday, in fact, the rebels staged another small retreat from the oil port of Brega in the face of a heavy bombardment from Gadhafi loyalists. Meantime, in their self-styled capital of Benghazi, rebel leaders met with a U.S. envoy.


Fri April 1, 2011
Conflict In Libya

For Libyan Rebels, A Battle Against Time To Organize

Rebel fighters aren't waiting around as an international coalition debates whether to do more to arm and train them in battling Col. Moammar Gadhafi's troops. They've ramped up a crash training course for volunteers in hopes of better organizing the improvised army that is struggling to make sustained military gains against the autocratic regime.

In a sprawling cement lot of a military base in the rebels' stronghold of Benghazi, two teenagers practice setting up the heavy tripod barrel and base of a mortar system as a trainer watches carefully.

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