Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

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Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
Born1975 (age 47–48)
Freelance photographer
Known forDocumenting various wars and conflicts for high-profile newspapers

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad (Arabic: غيث عبدالأحد, born 1975) is an Iraqi journalist who began working after the U.S. invasion. Abdul-Ahad has written for The Guardian and The Washington Post and published photographs in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Times (London), and other media outlets.[1] Besides reporting from his native Iraq, he has also reported from Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.[2]

Abdul-Ahad has received the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, the James Cameron Memorial Trust Award, the British Press Awards' Foreign Reporter of the Year and the Orwell Prize.

Author of the book A Stranger in Your Own City: Travels in the Middle East's Long War, published on March 14, 2023, in which he describes how he, and other Iraqis, experienced life and war in Iraq before and after the invasion and occupation.[3]


Abdul-Ahad was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1975. He studied architecture at Baghdad University and had never traveled outside Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. As a deserter from Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army, he lived underground in Baghdad for six years, having to change his residence every few months in order to avoid detection and arrest.

He began doing street photography in 2001 and was determined to document conditions in Baghdad during the war. This aroused suspicion, and he was arrested three days before the end of major combat operations, though he was able to escape by bribing his guards.


After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Abdul-Ahad became a freelance photographer for Getty Images[4] and journalist, writing for the British The Guardian from 2004.[5]

In October 2005, he published his book Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq which features his photography along with that of Kael Alford, Thorne Anderson and Rita Leistner.[6]

In October 2010 Abdul-Ahad was imprisoned for five days by the Taliban fighters he had gone to interview.[7]

In late February 2011 Abdul-Ahad entered Libya to report on the Libyan civil war. He was detained on 2 March by the Libyan Army in the town of Sabratha.[8] His traveling companion, the Brazilian journalist Andrei Netto of O Estado de S. Paulo was released on 10 March,[9] with Netto attributing his release to the good relationship between Brazil and Libya.[8] On 13 March Amnesty International and others called for Abdul-Ahad to be released;[8] he was finally released on 16 March,[10] after the Turkish government assisted negotiations and editor Alan Rusbridger flew to Tripoli.[11]

Abdul-Ahad's most recent work revolves around the Syrian Civil War focusing on the rebels and their stalemate between determined loyalists.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Abdul-Ahad, G.; K. Alford; T. Anderson; R. Leistner (2005). Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq. White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing. ISBN 1-931498-95-4.
  2. ^ Abdul-Ahad, Ghaith (21 February 2013). "How to Start a Battalion (in Five Easy Lessons)". London Review of Books. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  3. ^ Abdul-Ahad, Ghaith (2023). A Stranger in Your Own City : Travels in the Middle East's Long War. New York: Knopf / Penguin Random House. ISBN 978-0593536889.
  4. ^ "Journalist killed in helicopter attack". The Guardian. 13 September 2004. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Guardian's Ghaith Abdul-Ahad missing in Libya". BBC News. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
  6. ^ Charlie Fidelman, "The Iraq war, up close". Montreal Gazette, January 14, 2006.
  7. ^ Ghaith Abdul-Ahad (25 November 2010). "Five days inside a Taliban jail". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Ian Black (13 March 2011). "Efforts continue to free Guardian reporter". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  9. ^ "Repórter do Estado é solto na Líbia" [Estado reporter released in Libya]. O Estado de S. Paulo (in Portuguese). 10 March 2011. Archived from the original on 11 March 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
  10. ^ Sam Jones (16 March 2011). "Guardian journalist freed from captivity in Libya". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Turkey helps free Guardian journalist in Libya". The Guardian. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  12. ^ Stephen Brook (11 April 2006). "Iraqi journalist wins Martha Gellhorn prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Abdul Ahad wins Cameron award". The Guardian. 23 June 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  14. ^ "British Press Awards: The full list of winners". Press Gazette. 8 April 2008. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  15. ^ "The Winners". The Orwell Prize. 27 May 2014. Archived from the original on 2 July 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.

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