|Not ISIL loot, but cultural |
racketeering all the same
In particular Sam discusses the issues we both have with this "taxation" story (he is quoted as being quite rude about it in the interview!). There are a number of discrepancies and puzzling issues once you start to go into the details of how it might work on the ground. There are concerns that there may be some restriction and fabrication of evidence by Syrian opposition groups:
Much false evidence of destruction [of monuments he means - PMB] has been spread by (genuinely) victimised communities. Otherwise, I find it difficult to explain how we have so much more information about the functioning of the antiquities trade in Islamic State territory than we do about it in regime and rebel territory, and how we have so much more information about the functioning of the antiquities trade in IS-controlled Syria than we do about it in IS-controlled Iraq. And, even thinking in terms of Islamic States rather than Islamic State, I find it difficult to explain how we have so much contradictory information – not from distant speculation, but from multiple in-depth investigations, by large networks, across wide social and geographical ranges.It seems the Dutch newspaper could not get hold of some decent photos of real Roman coins.... There is a lot of it about.