1989 – 1996
Battle-hardened Osama bin Laden is a war hero back in Saudi Arabia when Saddam Hussein threatens the peace and stability of the Middle East by invading and occupying Kuwait. He offers the services of his Afghan mujahedeen to the Saudi royal family to force the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.
Much to his dismay and growing anger, the royal family declines his offer and invites the United States and its coalition allies to base their troops in the kingdom in preparation for the conflict ahead.
In 1991, bin Laden and his family leave Saudi Arabia for Sudan, a country that at the time was the Wild West for international terrorism. Bin Laden forms ties with the regime, and establishes a network of businesses, charities, and NGOs with legitimate and illegitimate purposes to keep his fighters employed and his organization ready and capable to carry out its plans.
He continues to develop the Al Qaeda organization in Sudan over the next five years, as it attempts its first attacks against the United States in Yemen and Somalia. After coming under international pressure, Sudan forces bin Laden to leave. He chooses to go to the one place he knew well and where he was still considered a hero.