Tuesday 17 June 2014

Collectors Criticised by Esquire blogger

Charles P. Pierce ('Open For Business', The Politics Blog June 16, 2014) writes of ISIL "empowered at least in part by the dynamics of the clusterfck we unleashed in Iraq for the purpose of finding nuclear bombs, democracy, candy and/or flowers".
ISIS has secured massive cashflows from the oilfields of eastern Syria, which it had commandeered in late 2012, some of which it sold back to the Syrian regime. It has also made money from smuggling raw materials pillaged in Syria as well as priceless antiquities from archeological digs. An intelligence official told the Guardian that Isis took $36m from al-Nabuk, an area in the Qalamoun mountains west of Damascus, including antiquities that are up to 8,000 years old. In robbing banks, Isis is following a long tradition of violent revolutionaries [...] But that part about the antiquities is interesting. In brief, there's not much you can do about bank robberies, but the archaeological artifacts are being sold, which means that somebody, somewhere is buying the stuff. [...] And, yes, it's perfectly fine to remember back when the clusterfck was first beginning, and we tore down Saddam's statue for a photo op, and then proceeded to let Baghdad descend into a chaos of violence and looting. One place that got looted was the Iraqi National Museum, and [antiquities] got lifted, never to be recovered. (We kept the oil ministry safe, however.) And Donald Rumsfeld, riding high as the prince of fools, said by way of explanation, "Freedom's untidy".
Al-Nabuk is in the centre of this map, north of Damascus rather than west

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