Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Getting Portable Antiquities Cheap: The Moroccan Dealer and ISIL

'Aisha' talking to Sam Kiley
Journalist Sam Kiley (Sky News's Foreign Affairs Editor in Raqqa Province) interviewed the wife of an ISIL fighter now under Kurdish guard in a refugee camp in Syria. He calls the woman 'Aisha', and tells us that she is the wife of an immigrant to the so-called Islamic caliphate (Sam Kiley, 'IS recruiter Sally Jones 'wants to return to Britain' from Raqqa', Sky News 03 July 2017):
In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Aisha (her real name is being withheld) insisted that very few immigrants to the 'caliphate' wanted to join the war. [...] Aisha revealed that her Moroccan husband had travelled to IS before the caliphate was even declared by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in June 2014. She said that he had been a dealer in ruins [sic] and antiquities in Europe and had been told by a friend that he could buy them cheaply in the caliphate. The extremist regime drew heavily for funding on the sale of stolen antiquities and taxed criminal gangs who omitted [sic] the landscape under its control with illegal digs.
This 'friend' presumably was also involved in the same trade. So it seems this lady's story is that her husband moved to the 'caliphate' to send antiquities out, and that he took a wife there and settled down to live off the proceeds. So, collector - does your collection contain antiquities ('from an old collection, but I cannot give more details') bought from a handsome dealer between 2013 and 2015? Where did they really come from, and where did your money go?

The international community has defined (in the 1970 UNESCO Convention) what is right and wrong in the international commerce in antiquities. Many dealers pay no attention and even actively oppose its application, many dealers are intentional wrongdoers in that regard. The connections between the antiquities trade and organized crime and political violence are increasingly clear to all. The trouble is that, once having shaken hands with Satan to satisfy their passions and greed, the way to a downward spiral into deeper evil and crime is not easy to avoid.

Aisha's husband, if he is not already dead, will not likely to be returning to Europe or Morocco after his unwise life choice, if he lands in Britain, he will be jailed, but is unlikely to escape Raqqa as the town has now been surrounded on the south and the advance into it has just begun, because (as Brett McGurk, the leading US diplomat in the fight against the so-called caliphate, recently announced), 'the 3,000 to 3,500 foreign fighters in Raqqa would die there' (by one means or another?). 

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