The Lebanon hostage crisis refers to the systematic kidnapping in Lebanon of 96 foreign hostages of 21 national origins – mostly American and western European – between 1982 and 1992. At least 8 hostages perished in captivity: some murdered, while others died from lack of adequate medical attention to illnesses.
Those taking responsibility for the kidnapping used different names, but the testimony of former hostages indicates almost all the "groups" were actually one group of "a dozen men" coming "from various ... clans" within the Hezbollah organization, "most notably the Mughniyya and Hamadi clans." Particularly important in the organization was "master terrorist" Imad Mughniyah. Hezbollah has publicly denied involvement. It is also widely believed that the Islamic Republic of Iran - and to a lesser extent Syria - played a major role in the kidnappings, if in fact it was not the instigator of them.
The original reason for the hostage-taking seems to have been "as insurance against retaliation by the U.S., Syria, or any other force" against Hezbollah, which is thought responsible for the killing of 230 Americans and 58 Frenchmen in the Marine barracks and embassy bombings in Beirut. Other reasons for the kidnappings or the prolonged holding of hostages are thought to be "primarily based on Iranian foreign policy calculations and interests" particularly the extraction of "political, military and financial concessions from the Western world", the hostage takers being strong allies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The tight security measures taken by the hostage-keepers succeeded in preventing the rescue of all but a handful of hostages, and this along with public pressure from the media and families of the hostages led to a breakdown of the anti-terrorism principle of "no negotiations, no concessions" by American and French officials. In the United States, the Reagan administration negotiated a secret and illegal arms for hostage swap with Iran known as the Iran-Contra Affair.
The hostage crisis ended with the need for Western aid and investment by Syria and Iran following the end of the Iran-Iraq war and collapse of the Soviet Union, and with promises to Hezbollah that it could remain armed following the end of the Lebanese Civil War and that France and America would not seek revenge against it.
... Hostages, a 1993 HBO film based on the event, starring Colin Firth as John McCarthy Hostage (1999) three part UK documentary series for Channel Four, featuring interviews with Anderson, Keenan, McCarthy, Waite ... Keenan Someone Who'll Watch Over Me a play an American, an Irishman and an Englishman being hostages in Lebanon ...
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“The amelioration of the world cannot be achieved by sacrifices in moments of crisis; it depends on the efforts made and constantly repeated during the humdrum, uninspiring periods, which separate one crisis from another, and of which normal lives mainly consist.”
—Aldous Huxley (18941963)
“Neither dead nor alive, the hostage is suspended by an incalculable outcome. It is not his destiny that awaits for him, nor his own death, but anonymous chance, which can only seem to him something absolutely arbitrary.... He is in a state of radical emergency, of virtual extermination.”
—Jean Baudrillard (b. 1929)