In a recent long post, archaeoblogger Sam Hardy has examined the involvement of the Assad regime in looting at Palmyra before the site fell into ISIS' hands. Dealers and collectors have evidently been collaborating for many years with corrupt members of this regime and bolstered its finances by buying looted artefacts such as coins (looted for example from Apamea) and busts from Palmyra. Who has been buying these things, and where did they go? How much money has the Assad regime and its officials made from foreign collectors, and how much of it was spent on barrel bombs, and does a single collector in the western world give a tinkers?
Buyers are not getting the message that the purchase of such antiquities is enabling war and terror in the Middle East.Indeed, this is why the dealers associations pay huge sums of money to "web brigades" of Internet trollbots who constantly work to organize disinformation operations primarily by deflecting any discussions on the issues raised by the trade in illicit artefacts onto different tracks. We see the effects all the time on the websites of dealers, their lobbyists and supporters, as well as slack-jaw collectors unthinkingly following their lead.