Twenty years ago this month, a colleague saved me from a likely gruesome death. He insisted I stay in his Baghdad office of the World Food Programme (WFP) for a hot drink. “You can't leave us without trying the tea I made for you! The best in Iraq.”
I drove back to my office half an hour later than scheduled. Near the grim building of the Canal Hotel, the UN headquarters in the Iraqi capital, I caught sight of a column of smoke and a grey cloud forming on the horizon.