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 npr.org

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.

 

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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

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

LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:

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GUY RAZ, host:

We begin the hour in Libya, where sounds of jubilation broke out in the eastern oil town of Ajdabiya.

Unidentified Group: (Foreign language spoken)

RAZ: A week ago, the rebels lost control of the town. Today, they took it back.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

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

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

In key Libyan cities, anti-government rebels have been unable so far to dislodge forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, despite help from airstrikes and a no-fly zone from the Western coalition. Yet the rebels' provisional body is moving ahead with efforts to build a political structure to better define what the revolution stands for.

Meantime, there's creeping fear and paranoia in the rebel capital that people loyal to Gadhafi are trying to undermine those efforts through violence and intimidation.

Coalition airstrikes have pushed forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi back to the outskirts of Ajdabiya in the East — just south of the rebel capital, Benghazi.

But, so far, the anti-Gadhafi rebels have been unable to do much to capitalize on the opportunity, and remain largely pinned down on the roadway south of Benghazi.

The Libyan government talked tough Thursday about any potential Western military intervention as it pressed its offensive against rebels trying to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi's 42-year dictatorship.

Libya's defense minister threatened that any Western airstrikes would endanger air and sea traffic in the Mediterranean now and in the future. The U.N. Security Council voted Thursday to authorize a no-fly zone and increased sanctions on the Gadhafi regime.

The vote comes as sporadic fighting continued and some Libyan civilians headed for the border.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Joining us from Brussels is NPR correspondent Eric Westervelt. Good morning.

ERIC WESTERVELT: Good morning, Renee.

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And I'm Renee Montagne.

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