Tuesday 21 October 2014

Disneyland 'Solution' to Syria's Looting problem

Turkey should be doing the
work for US dealers?
James McAndrew (a former senior special agent at the Department of Homeland Security, is a forensic specialist at Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silveman and Klestadt) thinks he has a solution to Syria's looting problem ('Syria’s Neighbors Must Pressure Assad on Preserving Antiquities' New York Times October 8, 2014).  
The most effective way to stop looting is through international pressure led by Syria’s neighboring countries, including the use of sanctions specifically for the lack of effort in protecting the cultural infrastructure within Syria's borders. The U.S. and its allies should support any effort in an advisory role, but the crisis is on the ground, not the political sphere.
The only problem is that much of the looting in the north and east of the country is taking place in areas where the Assad regime has lost control and under the control of a variety of shifting ephemeral militia groups. He's also in denial about smuggling (recurrent failures of the Department of Homeland Security to detect and combat antiquity smuggling into the US):
Our borders were never flooded with looted Iraqi antiquities during or after the war. They aren’t flooded with looted Syrian antiquities now.
Somehow he's asking us to believe that the artefacts being sold by certain dealers and held by certain collectors discussed in the media recently happen to be "currently in the US" because they fell out of the sky.

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