Feb 25, 2023
One year after Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine, Richard Engel is on the ground, speaking with ordinary civilians who bravely joined an underground resistance to help liberate the city of Kherson from Russian occupation.
Richard Engel is widely regarded as one of America’s leading foreign correspondents for his coverage of wars, revolutions, and political transitions around the world for over twenty years. He is recognized for his outstanding reporting on the Syrian civil war, the 2011 revolution in Egypt, the conflict in Libya, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and overall unrest throughout the Arab world.
Engel was named chief foreign correspondent of NBC News in April 2008. His reports appear across all NBC News and MSNBC platforms, including “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt,” “TODAY,” “Meet the Press,” “Dateline” and NBCNews.com.
Engel also hosts the special ongoing award-winning series “On Assignment with Richard Engel” on MSNBC, which draws on his over twenty years of experience of award-winning original reporting in the field and combines in-depth reporting with interviews in key locations across the world.
Engel’s work has received numerous awards, including eight News & Documentary Emmy Awards. Most recently, “On Assignment” won the prestigious Peabody Award for “American Betrayal,” as well as the Sigma Delta Chi Award and the National Headliner Award for the same episode. “On Assignment” also won the Edward R. Murrow Awards’ Continuing Coverage category for its series of investigative reports on Vladimir Putin and Russia, as well as the prestigious Scripps Howard Award for outstanding reporting on this subject.
Additionally, Engel was honored with two Peabody Award for his coverage of the rise of ISIS (2014) and for his reporting on the Viper Company, a remote U.S. Army unit in Afghanistan (2008), and the National Headliner Award for his continuing coverage of Syria (2020). In 2013, Engel was the recipient of the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism and was also honored with the “Tex” McCrary Award for Journalism Excellence by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Richard also received two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for his coverage of the Arab uprisings (2012) and for his report “War Zone Diary” (2008) – The one-hour documentary, compiled from his personal video journal, gave a rare and intimate account of the everyday realties covering the war in Iraq. In 2007, Engel received the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism, the first ever given to a broadcast journalist, for “War Zone Diary.”
Engel is the author of three books, “A Fist in the Hornet’s Nest”, “War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq,” and “And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East.”
Engel lived in the Middle East after graduating from Stanford University in 1996 with a B.A. in international relations. He speaks and reads fluent Arabic, which he learned while living in Cairo. He has also traveled extensively in the Middle East and can comfortably transition between several Arabic dialects spoken across the Arab world. He is also fluent in Italian and Spanish.
Richard Engel started his foreign corresponding in Egypt, which he describes in the first chapter. Starting in the second chapter, Engel realizes that the good reporting will be moving around the middle east, with the next stop being Israel. Engel lived in Jerusalem and started to make a name for himself with his big international stories. These stories were mostly based on the relations between the Israelis and Palestinians, which were governed by the Oslo II Accord, splitting the Palestinian land into three areas with different governing power given to the Israelis. The Palestinians predilection towards violence and suicide bombings led to the second intifada. The conflict ended when the leader of the Palestinians, Yasser Arafat, was captured, and Israel went into the Palestine area with Operation Defensive Shield and captured almost all the cities. Soon after, the events on September 11, 2001 made it clear to Engel that the best reporting would now be in Iraq. Engel covered Iraq for 3 years, slowly gaining friends on the inside that could help him and enemies that would come after all reporters. The conflict here was between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Saddam Hussein was the leader of the Sunnis and the leader of Iraq, and Engel had to endure countless sleepless nights because of the bombs that went off everywhere around the country. The Sunnis were the majority, but the US backed the Shiites and pushed for democracy after they took down Saddam Hussein. But, after Hussein was taken, it brought out the rotten core and extremists of the Sunnis, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Engel credits him to the start of ISIS, including the first beheading video of Nick Berg, an American freelance construction contractor. After many attacks by Zarqawi and his group, who strived to be like Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, Zarqawi was killed by US special forces. Engel’s next home would be Iran.
Engel and “On Assignment with Richard Engel” are on Twitter at @RichardEngel and @OARichardEngel
The following is a Great book for all of you who want to understand the never ending changes in the Middle East
Richard Engel begins talking about graduating from Stanford and wanting to become a reporter but not your typical reporter, he wanted to focus on something more than the stock market so he moved to the middle east in 1996, when people like Saddam Hussein, Gadhafi, and Mubarak were the big leaders. At this time under the big men the middle east was angry, oppressed and rotten to the core. He lived in Cairo where he talks about how different it is from the US such as having no privacy and not speaking to a woman for two years. Engel talks about how everything in the media was heavily censored when he worked for the Middle East Times. The first attack he saw was a bus shooting and burning in Tahrir Square one of the busiest parts of downtown Cairo, he saw people shot and melted into their bus seats. He counts this and the attack in Luxor the first Al-Qaeda-style attacks. He talks about Islam and its origins- Islam’s message- all men are equal in prayer, humbled together in communal submission, rich and poor side by side. Mohammad asked for 5 daily prayers, a weekly gathering with a short sermon, partial fasting for a month each year, and a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca, called the hajj, for those who could afford it. After World War I and the treaties and promises made by Europeans it left the middle east hopelessly divided. After World War II the US pretty much was the Middle East’s guardian of stability. After 9/11 when Bush said he was launching a crusade many Muslims took that at face value. Engel started freelancing in 1998 for ABC, The World, and other news organizations. The hardcore Egyptian jihadists joined the holy wars in Afghanistan against the soviets then would return and get put in jail and murdered so they ran to the mountains where they would live and later form standing armies one of which is AL-Qaeda.