Thursday, January 14, 2016

‘Broken System’ Allows ISIS to Profit From Looted Antiquities

By Stella Sudekum
A detail of a tablet that, if authentic, is 5,000 years old and was apparently smuggled out of Iraq through Turkey. It is being held at the Shumen Regional Historical Museum in Bulgaria. Credit Laura Boushnak for The New York Times
A police raid in Bulgaria was heralded as a rare success against the trafficking of antiquities, but it also highlighted the barriers officials face. Illicit trafficking of antiquities has reached peak levels in the ISIS controlled areas of Syria and Iraq. Laws differ from country to country, and despite universal condemnation for the Islamic State’s destructive actions against culture, few country’s have shown interest in restricting booming smuggling routes. [link]
A museum in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. The Bulgarian police seized 9,000 artifacts in the northeastern region of Shumen in March 2015, including some that may have been smuggled out of Iraq, possibly during the time the Islamic State was in control. Credit Laura Boushnak for The New York Times