Thursday, 11 September 2014

"Trading Treasure for Weapons: ISIS Campaign of Terror Strikes at Culture"

An opinion piece attributing looting of archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq to the militant group ISIL:
ISIS rakes in millions each month from its seizure of profitable oil fields, robbing banks and kidnapping innocent victims, to emerge as one of the best financed terrorist organizations in history. A critical element of instilling terror in its enemies as well as raising funds has been an active campaign by ISIS of cultural racketeering, the theft and sale of heritage material for profit.[...] Decisive action by the international community to prevent further cultural terrorism and profiteering from antiquities theft will advance the fight against ISIS. As Secretary Kerry builds his International Coalition, he will no doubt include the "demand" side countries that are receiving looted antiquities as well as many of the "supply" side countries where antiquities looting threatens our shared heritage. "Airstrikes alone won't defeat this enemy. A much fuller response is demanded from the world," writes the Secretary. "We need to disrupt and degrade ISIS' capabilities." Ending the scourge of ISIS's reign of cultural terrorism would provide that disruption. This is an outcome that the international coalition should vigorously pursue - and accomplish.
Source: Deborah Lehr and Peter Herdrich, 'Trading Treasure for Weapons: ISIS Campaign of Terror Strikes at Culture', Huffington Post 9th September 2014.

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