The village of Ras al-Ein, which is situated in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, falls under the overlapping control of the Syrian Army, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah, or Party of God. The village is seedy and brown, and is decorated with posters of martyrs and potentates-Ayatollah Khomeini is especially popular-and with billboards that celebrate bloodshed and sacrifice.
I visited Ras al-Ein this summer to interview the leader of a Hezbollah faction, a man named Hussayn al-Mussawi, who, twenty years ago, was involved in kidnapping Americans. Many of those kidnapped were held in Ras al-Ein; they were kept blindfolded, and chained to beds and radiators. It is thought that Ras al-Ein is where William Buckley, the Beirut station chief of the Central Intelligence Agency, was held for a time before he was killed by Hezbollah, in 1985.