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Part 8: The Final Frontier

The BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen looks back on four dark days in December 1998, when the west sent bomber planes in to Baghdad to punish Saddam Hussein.

The BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen looks back to December 1998, when the West sent bombers in to Baghdad to punish Saddam Hussein. In four days and nights the Americans and the British dropped 415 cruise missiles and 600 bombs. "We journalists suspected that tips off about the timing of attacks were to distract Americans from the scandal surrounding Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, which was at its height," he says.

Bowen started reporting on the region in the lead up to the Gulf War back in 1990. Since then, he has witnessed endless wars between individuals, religious groups and full-sized states, jostling for military, political and economic power. He has interviewed dictators, fanatics and fundamentalists as well as the ordinary people caught up in their dangerous games. In that time, the past has always been present, providing motivation and political ammunition. Bowen has made headlines himself and he has paid a personal price, coming under fire and losing a colleague in the course of reporting - on the worst day, he says, in his life.
Produced by Mark Savage and Cara Swift.

15 minutes

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