Friday 1 May 2020

Destruction or Theft? ISIL and Antiquities (Again)

In the first podcast in a series 'Deep Dive', Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (Geneva, Switzerland) takes a look at the dodginess of the antiquities trade and asks the question: "Destruction or theft?" (were [/are?] militant groups in MENA smashing stuff only, or were they smashing some stuff and also selling it?). The podcast features Katie A. Paul (ATHAR), Colin P Clarke ('After the Caliphate'), Christina Schori Liang and Laura Adal.

As readers might know, while initially I was less sceptical than I now am about the exclusivity of the links between recent looting in Iraq and Syria and ISIL (ISIS), I now see the issue as more nuanced. It is however a US fixation on a somewhat more dumbed-down version which equates the main part of the problem with ISIL (and avoiding mentioning the involvement of other groups - some of whom it seems were in part US-sponsored in the early years of the conflict). So this podcast perpetuates this to a great degree. It mentions as 'evidence' things which we now know are not so simple (the debunked '36 million from  al-Nabuk ', the Abu Sayyaf documents - which I maintain should be treated as US-government fake until we get better accounting for all the facets of the story that invoke suspicion). Nevertheless it brings together some different threads that mean that it's still worth listening to.
Destruction or Theft? Podcast Presenters: Laura Adal and Jack Meegan-Vickers
Guests: Colin P. Clarke, Senior Research Fellow at The Soufan Center and Assistant Teaching Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Christina Schori Liang, Head of Terrorism and PVE at GCSP. Katie A. Paul, Co-Director of the ATHAR Project
This goes with a 50-page report of the GI by Tom Westcott:
'Destruction or theft? Islamic State, Iraqi antiquities and organized crime'.
It's a must-read, (unless of course you're a representative of the antquities dealers' lobby, in which case you'll probably want to just spout off the usual stuff without reading a word of it because your lowbrow audience won't even notice - or care). 

1 comment:

Thomas said...

I am convinced that destructions of ancient monuments by ISIS were mostly motivated not by ideology but by greed. In Syria why did they blow up the temple of Bel's cella in Palmyra? There was no "idol" in this monument, not even a sculpture of a human being, but there was a mihrab in it, because in the Middle Ages this old temple had been turned into a mosque. In fact they blew up a mosque, like in Mosul when they destroyed Nebi Yunis mosque in order to loot sculptures from the Assyrian palace buried underneath. In Palmyra it was different, they probably shared the very common belief that there were hoards of gold hidden some way inside the large stones.

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.