1991. Out of the ruins of the Cold War, a dominant America finds itself in a new kind of war. A war with no true battlefield, no front lines, in which religion will be used as a weapon.
It all begins with Operation Desert Storm. The Americans easily win the first Gulf War and drive Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, but they will make two decisions that fundamentally impact the future: Saddam Hussein is left in power in Iraq, while U.S. military troops remain in Saudi Arabia to ensure the region's stability.
Muslims are incensed by the presence of foreigners on Mohammed's sacred land. The result will be the first attacks on the World Trade Centre in 1993, but also, and more importantly, Osama Bin Laden declares jihad, a holy war, against America in 1998. He orchestrates the attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. Then, the biggest shock of all, September 11, 2001, the worst attack on American civilians in history.
The war on terror has officially begun. Launched first in Afghanistan, with strong backing from the international community, it will soon spread to Iraq, where this time, the Americans and British will be pretty much on their own.
During the episode we will get to know people whose lives were deeply affected by years of conflict.
Ken Jarecke, war photographer. At the end of the first Gulf War, Ken Jarecke is the first to arrive on the so-called Highway of Death. He captures one of the most famous photos of that conflict, the "Face of War" the image of a completely scorched corpse inside a vehicle. The photo will be a source of much controversy in America and abroad.
Ibrahim Al Marashi, an American student. Ibrahim Al Marashi also finds himself unwittingly at the centre of a major controversy. One of his articles published in a university magazine is quoted almost word-for-word as an intelligence report by British and American governments to justify military action against Saddam Hussein in 2003. Ibrahim will tell us of his great astonishment upon hearing American Secretary of State Colin Powell use his words to address the United Nations' General Assembly.
Amar Sahib, an Iraqi student. Because his family opposed Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, Amar is torn after September 11th. His dilemma seems inextricable: deep down he is convinced that the attacks were wrong, but he fears reprisals if he speaks out publicly. Will he be able to overcome his fear of the dictator?
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