Thursday, 14 May 2015

Blinkers on: ADCAEA and ISIL Revenue

The Association of Dealers and Collectors of Ancient and Ethnographic Art , painting themselves as "saviours of the art"  triumphantly announce "this is where the real funding for ISIS is coming from, not a few stray antiquities that have not been destroyed....". "This" is an essay by Fernanda Uro Aboites (student at the American University in Cairo)  in Egyptian Streets ("aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Egyptian and Middle Eastern streets").

I have commented before that antiquity collecting seems to be a means of access to the past for those with limited literacy skills, and thus the title of the piece is probably as far as ADCAEA got:" What Keeps ISIS Running: the Funding and Support of a Terror Organization". If they'd penetrated the text a bit further than just looking at the pictures and headline they'd find antiquity trading is mentioned as a resource ISIL exploits:
To a certain degree, the Islamic State is self-financing. It raises most of its money from the territories it feeds off of, namely Syria and Iraq, and with them, it has taken control of important resources [...] The Islamic State is also imposing strict taxes on its citizens [...] IS has become increasingly organized in order to take advantage of local moneymaking opportunities. [...] The organization has also resorted to bank robbery, selling illegal drugs, looting museums and selling artifacts illicitly, peddling crude oil on the black market to Turkey, [...] a significant amount of resources must be coming from outside Syria and Iraq.
I guess the ADCAEA also never got to the bit where the journalist suggests:
it is crucial to consider the interests countries like the U.S. have in the region, and the role they might be playing in IS’ financial prosperity. Internal players such as (neo) conservatives, weapon manufacturers, and oil companies are all looking for profit, and this is a fact that cannot be ignored when analyzing any issue in the Middle East. At large, the interest of Western countries (namely the U.S.) in the Middle East has always been about oil, pipelines and control of the resource. The current state of insecurity and chaos in the Middle East is a direct consequence of American conservative aspirations to dominate oil resources and defend an ever expansionist Israel. Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the US has deliberately armed and funded Sunni extremist groups, linked to al-Qaeda, in Iraq in order to push back against Shiite militias.
More here...   Whether or not any of that is true, or fits one's own worldview, it seems a bit of a home goal for US antiquity dealers to use this text to suggest that the hands of US collectors are clean. Discuss.

Vignette: Just say something... 

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