a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the significant disruption of the sale and/or trade of oil and antiquities by, for, on behalf of, or to benefit the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known by its Arabic acronym as DAESH.
Terrorist groups such as ISIL rely on financing and support networks to sustain operations and launch attacks. ISIL’s illicit oil operations and trafficking in looted archaeological material from Syria and Iraq are key sources of revenue, helping the terrorist organization to generate millions of dollars in hard currency and enabling ISIL to carry out its brutal tactics and oppress innocent civilians. ISIL’s damage to and looting of cultural and historical sites in Iraq and Syria have destroyed irreplaceable evidence of ancient life and society. Ancient and historical coins, jewelry and carved gems, plaques, sculptures, containers, and cuneiform tablets are among the types of Syrian and Iraqi cultural objects that ISIL is seeking. The Emergency Red Lists of Cultural Objects at Risk, developed by the International Council of Museums with support from the U.S. Department of State, provide a comprehensive list of the types of items looted and trafficked from Syria and Iraq and are linked here and here. With the goal to counter ISIL’s financing, the U.S. Department of State hopes this reward generates information regarding individuals or entities engaged in the production, facilitation, processing, smuggling, distribution, sale, and trade of oil and antiquities that benefit ISIL, as well as information regarding smuggling networks, methods, and routes underlying these activities.But how much are they offering for stopping trade and smuggling from and by the anti-government rebels (some US-supported) in the north and west of the country to buy their bombs and bullets? Conflict antiquities are conflict antiquities, no matter what side you are on. Just because the US for their own reasons defines one group of men with guns "terrorists" and refrains from labelling another does not legitimise the prolongation of an armed struggle which is causing so much human misery and loss of life and livelihood.