WaPo Shuffles Middle East Coverage

In an internal memo acquired by FishbowlDC, the Washington Post announced changes to their Cairo and Baghdad bureaus today.   Leila Fadel who is currently in Iraq will move to Egypt to reopen the Post‘s Cairo bureau.  Taking Leila’s spot in Iraq is Liz Sly from the Los Angeles Times who has been hired as WaPo’s new Baghdad bureau chief who has spent the last seven years in Baghdad, first for the Tribune and then for the L.A. Times.  Full memo announcing the shuffle after the jump.

We’re happy to announce changes that will broaden and strengthen our coverage of the Middle East.  First, Liz Sly of the Los Angeles Times will join The Post as our next Baghdad bureau chief. Second, Leila Fadel will move from Iraq to Cairo to reopen our bureau there after several years of darkness. 

Liz, our new hire,  has spent most of the last two decades as a foreign correspondent, first in Africa, then China, then South Asia, then Europe and the Middle East for the Chicago Tribune. She has spent much of the last seven years in Baghdad, first for the Tribune and then for the L.A. Times. And she’s done it all with distinction, writing with grace, clarity and authority about complicated, opaque and maddening places.

Liz is a graduate of Cambridge University, and she began her career as a stringer in Beirut in 1983. Many of us have crossed paths with her over the years, and we’ve all admired her intelligence, courage and wit.  Her addition to the foreign staff will add new depth and insight to our coverage of Iraq and the broader region. Liz will take over as bureau chief on Dec. 1, after a final tour in Baghdad for the L.A. Times. Leila, who grew up in Saudi Arabia,  joined the Post last December and will move to Cairo in early January.  Her tours in Baghdad with the Post and McClatchy newspapers have showed her ability to write vividly about Iraqis. Her Arabic-language skills and cultural knowledge will help us to delve more deeply into Egypt and other parts of the Arab world at a pivotal time, after a period in which most journalistic attention has been focused on Iraq.

Leila will return periodically to Baghdad in her new role, as will Ernesto Londono, who will continue to divide his time between coverage of Afghanistan and Iraq. The team will continue to work closely with Janine Zacharia, our bureau chief in Jerusalem.

Doug and Griff
Oct. 6, 2010