Saturday 4 April 2020

Iraqi Antiquities and Organized Crime

Tom Westcott 'Destruction or theft? Islamic State, Iraqi antiquities and organized crime'
This report examines evidence of looting by IS in and around northern Iraq’s Nineveh governorate. Considering claims that IS not only stole exhibited Iraqi antiquities, but also carried out illicit excavations to plunder new, undiscovered treasures, the report re-evaluates the organization’s [...] organized looting for profit – as an example of 21st-century organized crime. The report also considers evidence of the onward flow of stolen Iraqi antiquities, and seeks to establish the most likely routes along which stolen artefacts were moved from [an ISIL]-occupied swathe of territory into neighbouring countries. It considers how [ISIL] transferred artefacts to other organized criminal networks, en route to long-term storage facilities, collectors and global marketplaces. The demise of IS as a territorial entity [...] means this topic has, by 2020, largely fallen off the radar. However, with countless artefacts from Nineveh still missing, and Iraqi archaeology experts alleging that IS members excavated important historical sites for their treasures, some of these plundered antiquities are now moving through different rungs of organized transnational criminal networks as they head towards collectors of global antiquities and other marketplaces, rendering this an ongoing organized crime.This report also highlights the need to raise awareness of such thefts in an effort to ensure that global collectors and auction houses are alert to Iraqi antiquities of potentially suspect provenance and with links to terrorist activities entering the global antiquities marketplace in the forthcoming years and decades.
Download the report here

The problem is, it was not just (or maybe primarily) ISIL involved, as pointed out on the PACHI blog time and time again. I don't like his un-nuanced use of the noun an adjective terrorist.

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