- In the mid-1980s, after the collapse of law and order, extremist Shi‘ite Muslims in Lebanon began taking Westerners prisoner in Beirut, including the Britons John McCarthy and Brian Keenan. As many as twenty-six were at one time held hostage by the Iranian-backed extremists, and though most were released after several years, three Britons died. The forced detention of these alleged ‘spies’ and ‘subversives’ led to a Syrian invasion, which attempted to restore authority but did not succeed in releasing the hostages. In the USA, the consequences were the Iran-Contra affair and its offshoot, the ‘Arms for Hostages’ scandal. In the UK, Terry Waite, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy, was despatched to Beirut to negotiate with the kidnappers but was himself taken hostage. By the late 1990s, all the surviving hostages had been released.MIKE STORRY
Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . Peter Childs and Mike Storry). 2014.