Times reloads in Baghdad

Bunch of new correspondent assignments were just posted for L.A. Times foreign bureaus, with Baghdad the most affected. There's also a new chiefs of bureau for Moscow and Cairo and the Times returns to Beirut. Here's the memo:

To: The Staff
From: Marjorie Miller, Foreign Editor

I want to take this opportunity to thank BORZOU DARAGAHI, SOLOMON MOORE and LOUISE ROUG for their outstanding work in our Baghdad bureau. We had a truly remarkable year in 2006 with a wonderful mix of news, analysis, investigative stories and features. We were out front on death squads and the fact that the country had descended into civil war. We had a detailed reconstruction of neighbor-on-neighbor killings in Balad, a heart-breaking account of a family coping with the loss of a child, and a ground-breaking piece by one of our Iraqi staffers, recounting his own dehumanization as he watched the shooting of a man in front of him and did nothing to help. And so much more. Thank you to all three -- and to the many members of the staff who joined them for stints during the year -- for the risks you took, the commitment you made, the hard reporting and beautiful story-telling you gave us.

We have passed the baton into the able hands of a whole new crew. TINA SUSMAN, whose byline you already have seen, will be taking over from Borzou as bureau chief. As previously noted, Tina came to us from Newsday, and she has slipped seamlessly into the story along with ALEX ZAVIS. Thanks to both of them for taking on this difficult, dangerous and important story.

Joining Tina and Alex will be NED PARKER. Ned comes to us from the Times of London. He has been serving in Baghdad for that paper since May 2006, but his experience in Iraq goes back to the invasion in 2003. He has spent the better part of eight years reporting from the Middle East, freelancing and working for AFP in Gaza and in Baghdad from March 2003-05, and throughout the Middle East while based in Cyprus from 2000-03. He has a BA in history from the University of Montana and a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University. Ned will begin in mid-March.

In addition to our Baghdad changes, MEGAN STACK will be taking over as Moscow bureau chief later this year after four years in the Middle East, a year of that in Jerusalem and three-plus years as Cairo bureau chief. In that time, Megan has given us many wonderful stories from the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and especially Lebanon and Iraq. Her coverage of the war between Lebanon and Israel last summer was smart, tenacious and about as close to the ground as you can get in the midst of battle. Her stories out of Iraq included the memorable profile of the slain Iraqi television reporter Atwar Bajhat and a haunting Column One about the lengths Iraqis take to shield themselves from the civil war by hiding their identities.

Not that it takes two to replace Megan, but we have long felt we needed to add another person to our coverage of the Arab world. So now that his time in Baghdad is over, Borzou will open a new bureau in Beirut, and Berlin Bureau Chief JEFF FLEISHMAN will take over as Cairo bureau chief this summer. Jeff's distinguished five-year run in Berlin featured an unending series of stories on renditions, mob networks and -- his all-time great -- the ``self-taught gynecologist.''

Finally, take a look at the latest excellent development on In addition to the WORLD page, we now have five separate "landing pages" that will feature our coverage from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. These long-awaited pages will allow us greater flexibility to highlight your work and attract new readers to the Web. Over the next couple of months, our colleagues on the Web will be adding additional features, and we welcome your ideas for other elements we can introduce as we work to make these pages leading destinations for foreign news on the Web.

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