Antiquities trafficking in the Middle East is nothing new, and even trafficking to fund terrorism has its precedents. During the Ottoman Empire, Iraqi archaeological sites were looted at the behest of wealthy foreigners.[2] After the first Gulf War, looting ancient treasures became a significant source of illicit revenue for impoverished tribal groups and revitalized criminal smuggling networks that specialized in antiquities.[3] These networks became increasingly entrenched in the Iraqi economy during the 1990s, as the UN-imposed sanctions created the need for a black market.[4] After the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, looters pillaged 15,000 artifacts from the National Museum of Iraq, located in Baghdad.[5] As the security situation deteriorated, large-scale looting broke out at archaeological sites throughout Iraq; experts suggest that one-half million artifacts were looted between 2003 and 2005 alone.[6] By the time the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) conquered northern Iraq in the summer of 2014, the organization was already involved in trafficking antiquities. Indeed, just about every faction in the Syrian conflict was already trafficking in antiquities to help fund their activities, just as terrorists and insurgents had done previously in Iraq and Afghanistan.[7]

There is wide speculation and extensive debate about the extent of ISIL’s involvement in antiquities trafficking.[8] Much to the chagrin of researchers and policymakers, while terrorists are happy to pontificate on their goals and aspirations, they are not so forthcoming about their finances. Speculation about how much ISIL earns from antiquities trafficking to fund its caliphate ambitions runs the gamut from a superficial amount to billions of dollars.[9] Archaeologist Michael Danti, who is funded by the U.S. State Department, speculates that antiquities trafficking is ISIL’s second largest source of revenue, whereas a team of German investigative journalists has been unable to find definitive evidence of ISIL’s involvement in this trade.[10]

From our perspective, ISIL’s involvement in antiquities looting and trafficking is clear, based on satellite imagery, anecdotal evidence, documentation by concerned citizens, and the similar involvement of ISIL predecessors al-Qa’ida in Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq.[11] Terrorists and looters are opportunists; given that ISIL derives much of its income from various illicit activities, it would be surprising if the group were not involved in what is believed to be the world’s third largest illicit market, particularly in a region that is home to some of the world’s oldest and most valuable antiquities.[12]

Unearthing Syria’s Heritage and Destroying Its Cultural Property
As Syria descended into civil war in 2011, the breakdown of civil society and the rampant lawlessness in most parts of the country had several unforeseen consequences. However, the looting of Syria’s 25 cultural museums and some 10,000 archaeological sites was predicted early in the conflict.[13] On July 11, 2011, then Syrian prime minister Adel Safar wrote to government officials warning that “the country is threatened by armed criminal groups with hi-tech tools and specialized in the theft of manuscripts and antiquities, as well as the pillaging of museums.”[14] Safar recommended the installation of increased security measures, such as more secure doors, alarm systems, and surveillance cameras.[15]

At the time, archaeologists from the Syrian Heritage in Danger initiative found these suggestions rather odd, as no looting had yet occurred.[16] Safar’s directive nonetheless fits the narrative the Assad regime promoted almost immediately after the uprising began: that foreign conspirators and terrorists were behind the protests against his regime, despite no evidence of this at the outset of the revolution.[17] There was even speculation by some archaeologists that officials in the Assad regime would engage in the theft and resale of the country’s cherished relics, something that occurred “under President Assad’s father Hafez al-Assad.”[18] When an Aramaic statuette was stolen from the Archaeological Museum of Hama later in July, it appeared to be an inside job, as there was no sign of a break-in; the whereabouts of the statuette are still unknown.[19]

By 2012, opposition groups desperately needed money and arms, and they too turned to looting their own heritage to supplement their income.[20] Soon thereafter, fighters supporting the Free Syrian Army developed an “association of diggers dedicated to finding antiquities in order to fund the revolution.”[21] A known smuggler by the name of Abu Khaled said that even “the regime is dealing with antiquities, because they are collapsing economically. They need cash money to pay the shabiha [hired thugs].”[22] Indeed, “if you ask people from Syria, they would simply answer: everyone is trafficking antiquities. And, by the way, they have been doing this for decades, it just increased now dramatically, because of the political chaos.”[23]

Cheikmous Ali, a leading Syrian archaeologist who is president of the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archeology, documents the destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage. He explains that the actors involved in archaeological looting throughout Syria have different capabilities and four basic levels of sophistication:[24] (1) indiscriminate and random digging; (2) digging by thieves and specialists who focus on specific locations using sophisticated technology, such as metal detectors; (3) systematic digging using archaeologists’ methods; and (4) excavation with bulldozers and other heavy machinery, which causes extensive damage and has destroyed dozens of sites.[25]

Centuries-old smuggling routes that are well established across Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon have facilitated antiquities trafficking.[26] British and German reporters have come across people eagerly trying to sell millions of dollars’ worth of Syrian artifacts, which they obtained from antiquities trafficking networks operating in both southern Turkey and Lebanon, and which have ties to armed groups in Syria.[27] Many buyers are Syrian collectors who stockpile valuable antiquities in the country, while collectors from other Gulf States travel to Syria to buy directly from dealers.[28] The Turkish cities of Antakya, Gaziantep, Mardin, and Urfa have been identified as hubs for selling antiquities looted from Syria’s numerous archaeological sites, including Apamea and Dura-Europos, where heavy looting has been confirmed.[29] Some buyers allegedly come to Turkey from Western countries to purchase artifacts ranging from “$100, for . . . a Roman-era coin, and . . . as high as $100,000 for statues and rare manuscripts.”[30] Antiquities markets in Lebanon are also flush with freshly looted artifacts, which usually make their way from Syria to these markets through Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.[31] Lebanese sources told Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, lead investigator of the looting of the Baghdad Museum in 2003, that Hezbollah is involved in this trade and even levies taxes on antiquities trafficked in Lebanon.[32]

Iraq after 2003: Pillaging the Cradle of Civilization
Bogdanos believes that trafficked Iraqi antiquities funded terrorism during the second Iraq war, but not to the same extent as funds realized from kidnapping ransoms and protection money extorted from local Iraqis.[33] Nevertheless, antiquities trafficking became an increasingly common source of income for the insurgency, as indicated by the illicit weapons and antiquities that coalition forces frequently found together during the Iraq war. This activity funded both Sunni and Shia militias, including al-Qa’ida in Iraq.[34] Even when the security situation in Iraq stabilized briefly, antiquities trafficking continued unabated. In 2010, the independent Iraqi news agency Aswat al-Iraq reported the recovery of “seven antiquities and documents belong[ing] to what is called the Islamic State of Iraq armed group in Mosul” when Iraqi security forces raided a goldsmith’s store “after receiving information on financing armed groups.”[35] The Ninewa Operations Command arrested two wanted men and seized documents belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq.

In June 2014, after ISIL conquered Mosul, the group seized tens of millions of dollars from local banks and conveniently found itself controlling 1,800-4,000 of the country’s 12,000 archaeological sites.[36] On June 29, 2014—the first day of Ramadan—ISIL declared that it had reestablished the Caliphate and changed its name to the Islamic State.[37] By mid-July, reports began to emerge of ISIL looting in Iraq from such sites as “the grand palace of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II at . . . Nimrud,” where a “bas-relief that weighed more than 3 to 4 tons” was cut up and sold.[38] The director of the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage, which is located in Erbil, states that international antiquities “mafias” are informing ISIL as to what artifacts can be sold in a method akin to the “antiques wanted” section found on craigslist.[39] According to James McAndrew, a former senior special agent responsible for the Cultural Property, Art, and Antiquities Program of the Department of Homeland Security, intelligence sources suggest that significant pieces leaving Iraq will go to buyers in the UAE, Iran, Syria, and other Gulf States.[40]

Since the U.S.-led coalition attacked oil refineries under ISIL control—in Iraq on August 8, 2014, and in Syria on September 23, 2014—ISIL has increased its antiquities trafficking to make up for the loss of funds from oil revenues.[41] ISIL “clearly is involved and profiting at every level, from extraction to final sale and exit from [ISIL] territory.”[42] According to Willy Bruggeman, former deputy director of Europol, ISIL is now seeking even greater control by establishing a direct, one-on-one relationship with buyers in the West.[43] ISIL does not appear to have an official antiquities policy, but it appears to be pillaging and destroying cultural heritage sites in Syria and Iraq to support its overall mission for two main reasons:[44] first, to raise money to finance its operations, and second, to erase the cultural identity of minority groups and the ideologies that do not comply with its radical interpretation of Islam.[45]

ISIL exacts taxes on antiquities that are estimated to range from 12.5 percent to a 20 percent khums, a traditional Islamic tax, to as high as 50 percent for looted Islamic items.[46] Eyewitnesses in Manbij, a Syrian town near Aleppo, note that the way ISIL treats antiquities under its control depends on the local emir, who determines whether specific antiquities are destroyed, sold, or protected.[47] The emir offers local looters 700 Syrian pounds (US$ 3.87) per day, thus fulfilling his role as a “responsible” governing agent and providing ample employment opportunities.[48] ISIL, which opened an office in Manbij specifically to monitor looting activities, sometimes confiscates antiquities unearthed by locals and sells them to smugglers, one example being a Roman mosaic sold to Turkish traffickers. In the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor, the archaeological sites of Mari and Dura-Europos have been looted extensively since coming under ISIL control, according to recently analyzed geospatial imagery.[49] Bruggeman believes that pillaged Greco-Roman frescoes and masonry are among the most common antiquities stolen from an estimated 1,000 historical sites in Syria that are now under ISIL control.[50]

Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
Countries around the world are beginning to react to the destruction of ancient cultures and historical sites, and to reports of illicit trafficking of antiquities from Syria and Iraq, by implementing a variety of measures. In its latest resolution against ISIL, the UN Security Council banned all trade in antiquities from Syria and reaffirmed its ban on trading of Iraqi antiquities.[51] The EU—which includes several important European “market countries” known to purchase looted items—has reacted by putting stronger trade controls on all Syrian cultural property.[52]

In the U.S., a pending bill in the House would restrict the import of Syrian cultural property, and it also calls for a White House Coordinator for International Property Protection.[53] After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the FBI created an Art Crime Team to help other countries recover their stolen art and antiquities, and it has since collaborated with foreign police forces in numerous undercover sting operations that have helped recover antiquities worth millions of dollars.[54] The State Department is also helping the International Council of Museums with its Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk, which identifies cultural objects that might come from Syria and provides phone numbers and email addresses of people to contact if a suspected object turns up.[55] In February 2013, UNESCO held a four-day regional conference to develop an action plan to protect Syrian cultural property and build neighboring countries’ capacity to crack down on the smuggling of illicit antiquities.[56] Indeed, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey have all recovered antiquities that were trafficked into their territory from Syria.[57]

Tackling the issue of trafficked antiquities needs to be part of an overall international effort to counter ISIL, and to resolve the Syrian crisis. The literature indicates that antiquities trafficking occurs in four stages: (1) looting, often by poor subsistence diggers; (2) trafficking by organized criminal networks from source to destination countries; (3) “facilitation,” where artifacts are laundered and given false provenance; and (4) entry onto the market.[58] Two-faced “Janus figures”—internationally connected antiquities dealers—are thought to be the links “between the licit and illicit trade.”[59] While the international community struggles to stabilize conditions in Syria and Iraq, it will not be able to halt the trafficking of illicit antiquities without an effective law enforcement presence in these war-torn countries. Ideally, policymakers would target the first and second stages of the illicit supply chain to prevent the supply of stolen antiquities. However, targeting the third and fourth stages creates the opportunity to curb the demand that is fueling this trade and causing the destruction of valuable cultural heritage.

Recent international efforts to counter illicit antiquities trafficking are a good start, and the need to protect cultural property is beginning to receive the level of attention that has long been called for by such acts as the 1954 Hague Convention and the 1970 UNESCO Convention.[60] Nevertheless, international law can only go so far. As public awareness of the trade in black market antiquities increases, nations around the world must take steps to stop it. Laws that have built-in enforcement mechanisms will be the most effective way to crack down on this illicit market. Specific “choke points” in the supply chain need to be targeted, such as transit countries and cities that are known hubs for selling illicit antiquities. Just as countries in the region have been called on to take a greater role in the anti-ISIL military coalition, they also must be more proactive in countering antiquities trafficking—particularly the Gulf States. Those who facilitate and benefit from this illicit trade, such as the Janus figures and transnational traffickers, must also be targeted. Finally, a public-private initiative that involves governments, museums, collectors, and archaeologists should be launched to help eliminate the purchase, transfer, and sale of illicit antiquities, and to recommend further policy actions to reduce such activity. Efforts aimed at curbing the demand side of the market will help crack down on this lucrative market, but until this issue can be tackled from both ends by legitimate governments, these measures will not stop the surge of antiquities looting and trafficking taking place today in in Syria and Iraq.

Brigadier General (retired) Russell D. Howard is President of Howard’s Global Solutions, and an Adjunct Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Previously, General Howard was the Head of the Department of Social Sciences and the Founding Director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

Jonathan Prohov and Marc Elliott are graduate research assistants at the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

[1] The authors would like to thank Farah al-Mousawi for her help in conducting interviews for this article.

[2] Lawrence Rothfield, The Rape of Mesopotamia: Behind the Looting of the Iraq Museum (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2009), pp. 4-7; Joanne Farchakh-Bajjaly, “Who Are the Looters at Archaeological Sites in Iraq?” in Antiquities under Siege: Cultural Heritage Protection after the Iraq War, ed. Lawrence Rothfield (New York: Altamira Press, 2008), pp. 4:55-56.

[3] Farchakh-Bajjaly, “Who Are the Looters?” pp. 54-55.

[4] Rothfield, The Rape of Mesopotamia, pp. 17-20; Farchakh-Bajjaly, “Who Are the Looters?” pp. 51-55.

[5] For a firsthand account from the former museum research director about the looting of the museum and its implications, read Donny George, “The Looting of the Iraq National Museum,” in The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq, ed. Peter G. Stone and Joanne Farchakh-Bajjaly (Woodbridge, England: The Boydell Press, 2008), pp. 97-107. For a detailed breakdown of the number of objects stolen and their classifications, see Matthew Bogdanos, “The Casualties of War: The Truth about the Iraq Museum,” American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 109, no. 3 (July 2005) p. 515.

[6] The Archaeological Institute of America also estimated that the Iraqi antiquities trade generated $10 million to $20 million per year; Rothfield, The Rape of Mesopotamia, p. 137.

[7] Sam Hardy, “Antiquities Looting under Regime, Rebels and Jihadists in Syria,” Conflict Antiquities (blog), December 18, 2014; on antiquities trafficking as a source of revenue for terrorists in Iraq, see Matthew Bogdanos, “Thieves of Baghdad,” in The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq, ed. Stone and Farchakh-Bajjaly, pp. 124-26; on antiquities trafficking as a source of revenue for the Taliban in Afghanistan, see Blood Antiques, directed by Peter Brems and Wim Van den Eynde, New York Syndicad, 2009; on antiquities trafficking as a source of funding for terrorists and insurgents, see Heather Pringle, “New Evidence Ties Illegal Antiquities Trade to Terrorism, Violent Crime,” National Geographic, June 13, 2014; for more information on how antiquities trafficking supports terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, see Louise Shelley, Dirty Entanglements: Corruption, Crime, and Terrorism (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2014), p. 264.

[8] In all interviews conducted for this article, this number was never considered accurate. Those who believe that antiquities are a major source of income cite unverified evidence from ISIL accounting records that were seized near Mosul in June 2014, which alleges that the group derived $36 million from antiquities smuggling in the al-Nabuk region of Syria alone. This evidence came from Martin Chulov, “How an Arrest in Iraq Revealed Isis’s $2bn Jihadist Network,” The Guardian, June 15, 2014; on issues pertaining to this $36M claim, see Sam Hardy, “German Media Corroborates $36M Islamic State Antiquities Trafficking,” Hyperallergic, November 28, 2014; for the source of the “second highest” and “second most common” claims, see Justine Drennan, “The Black-Market Battleground,” Foreign Policy, October 17, 2014; for issues related to Danti’s claim of “second highest,” see Jason Felch, “Danti’s Inference: The Known Unknowns of ISIS and Antiquities Looting,” Chasing Aphrodite, November 18, 2014; Sam Hardy, “Tax and Spend: Laissez-Faire Islamic State Capitalism for the Illicit Antiquities Trade?” Conflict Antiquities (blog), December 4, 2014.

[9] The most extreme speculation came from a former Indian ambassador to Syria, Turkey, and the EU, who states that ISIL derives 30-50 percent of its two billion dollar revenue from antiquities trafficking—some six hundred million to one billion dollars. Rajendra Abhyankar, “Syrian ‘Blood Antiquities’ Proliferate Urgent Need for an International Agreement,” The Huffington Post, November 3, 2014.

[10] None of the experts interviewed for this article could verify this statistic and did not find it credible. Justine Drennan, “The Black-Market Battleground,” Foreign Policy, October 17, 2014; Yassin Mursharbash, an author who was involved with this German investigation, explains in why antiquities were not part of the analysis, due to a lack of evidence, in “The ‘Islamic State’ and the Illegal Sale of Antiquities,” Abu Susu’s Blog, December 4, 2014.

[11] Kathy Wren, “AAAS Analysis Shows Widespread Looting and Damage to Historical Sites in Syria,” Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science, December 17, 2014; “Hassaka-Tell Brak Region: Illicit Diggings at Tell al Hamidiya by ISIS,” Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology (APSA), 2011; Amr al-Azm, Salam al-Kuntar, and Brian Daniels, “ISIS’ Antiquities Sideline,” New York Times, September 2, 2014; Elena Becatoros, “Smuggled Antiquities Funding Iraq Extremists, U.S. Says,” National Geographic News, March 19, 2008.

[12] Janine Di Giovanni, Leah McGrath Goodman, and Damien Sharkov, “How Does ISIS Fund Its Reign of Terror?” Newsweek, November 06, 2014; UNESCO, “The Fight against the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Objects: The 1970 Convention. Past and Future,” Paris: UNESCO, March 15-16, 2011; Cem Erciyes, “Islamic State Makes Millions from Stolen Antiquities,” Al-Monitor, September 2, 2014.

[13] Robert Fisk, “Syria’s Ancient Treasures Pulverized,” The Independent, August 5, 2012.

[14] Fisk, “Syria’s Ancient Treasures”; Cheikmous Ali, “Syrian Heritage under Threat,” Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archeology & Heritage Studies 1, no. 4 (2013) pp. 351-66.

[15] Ali, “Syrian Heritage under Threat.”

[16] Fisk, “Syria’s Ancient Treasures.”

[17] Jeffrey Fleishman, “President Bashar Assad Blames Conspiracies for Syria Unrest,” Los Angeles Times, March 31, 2011,; Karen DeYoung, “Iraq Militant Group’s Pipeline through Syria Revives after Long Gap,” Washington Post, May 11, 2009.

[18] Fisk, “Syria’s Ancient Treasures”; author interview with Amr Al-Azm, February 13, 2015; interview with Abdal-Razzaq Moaz, February 17, 2015.

[19] Ali, “Syrian Heritage under Threat.”

[20] Aryn Baker and Majdel Anjar, “‘Syria’s Looted Past: How Ancient Artifacts Are Being Traded for Guns,” Time, September 12, 2012.

[21] Baker and Anjar, “‘Syria’s Looted Past.”

[22] Baker and Anjar, “‘Syria’s Looted Past.”

[23] Author interview with journalist, specialist on the Middle East, ARD, German Public Broadcaster, February 15, 2015.

[24]  Author interview with Amr Al-Azm, February 13, 2015.

[25]  Cheikmous Ali and Salem Ali, “Archaeological Excavations during the Conflicts: When the Bulldozer Replaces the Trowel,” al-Gerbal, January 2015, pp. 29-31; “Idlib: Illicit Diggings at Tell Hizareen P1,” YouTube video, depicts the use of metal detectors, posted by APSA, October 29, 2014,; “Deir Ezzor: Illicit Diggings at Qal’at al Rahba,” YouTube video, depicts the use of bulldozers for illicit diggings, posted by “Protect Syrian Archeology,” November 30, 2013,

[26] “Liban Tentative de Contrebande D’antiquités Syriennes,” YouTube video depicts the confiscation of looted Syrian antiquities in Lebanon and details the arrest of antiquities smugglers, posted by APSA, May 17, 2013,; Gabriele Denecke, “Art Smuggling in Syria as
Terrorists Loot the Cultural Heritage,” Das Erste, January 9, 2015;
Saad al-Masou’di, “Toraath al-‘iraq yumowwel da’ish wa muqatiluhu yanhaboon al-aathar,” al-Arabia, September 30, 2014.

[27] Interview with journalist, specialist on the Middle-East, ARD, German Public Broadcaster, February 15, 2015; “Liban Tentative,” APSA; Hala Jaber and George Arbuthnott, “Syrians Loot Roman Treasures to Buy Guns,” The Sunday Times, May 05, 2013; Denecke, “Art Smuggling in Syria.”

[28] Author interview with Amr Al-Azm.

[29] James Harkin, “Stealing Syria’s Past,” Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, August 27, 2014; Katrin Elger, “Monuments Men: The Quest to Save Syria’s History,” Der Spiegel, August 4, 2014; “Apamée: Fouilles clandestines-partie 1,” YouTube video, depicts heavy looting and excavations at Apamea, posted by APSA,” September 19, 2014,;
“Apamea: Illicit diggings-part 2,” YouTube video, depicts heavy looting and excavations at Apamea, posted by APSA September 19, 2014,

[30] Harkin, “Stealing Syria’s Past”; see also Di Giovanni et al., “How Does ISIS Fund?”

[31] Author interview with, Amr Al-Azm; interview with journalist, specialist on the Middle-East, ARD, German Public Broadcaster; Alice Fordham, “Smugglers Thrive on Syria’s Chaos, Looting Cultural Treasures,” NPR (blog).

[32]  Museum Security Network, “Investigator of Baghdad Museum Looting Says Antiquity Smuggling Finances Terror,” AP, March 19, 2008; see also Shelley, Dirty Entanglements, 264.

[33] Bogdanos, “Thieves of Baghdad.”

[34]  Bogdanos, “Thieves of Baghdad”; Museum Security Network, “Investigator of Baghdad Museum.”

[35] “Antiquities Found in Ninewa,” Aswat al-Iraq, August 11, 2010.

[36] As-Sumaria News, “As-siyaaha tushakkel khaliyya azma limu‘aalijat qadiyyat sariqat al-mawaaqi‘ al-ithriyya fil-mowsul,” July 26, 2014; for the claim of 1,800 sites, see Michael Janson, “A Common Heritage at Risk,” Assyrian International News Agency, October 10, 2014; for the claim of 4,000 sites, see Abdulameer al-Hamdani, “Iraq’s Heritage Is Facing a New Wave of Destruction,” Iraq Heritage, September 8, 2014; for how ISIS taps into existing trafficking networks in both Iraq and Syria, see al-Azm et al., “ISIS’ Antiquities Sideline.”

[37] Aaron Y. Zelin, “ISIS Is Dead, Long Live the Islamic State,” Foreign Policy, June 30, 2014.

[38] Di Giovanni et al., “How Does ISIS Fund?”; al-Hamdani, “Iraq’s Heritage Is Facing.”

[39] “Da‘ish tunaqqib ‘an al-aathaar wa tabee‘ha lilmaafiaat,” Noon Post, October 01, 2014, ; Sa‘d al-Mas‘oudi, “Toraath al-‘iraq yumowwel da‘ish wa muqatiluhu yanhaboon al-aathar,” al-Arabia, September 30, 2014.

[40] James McAndrew, “Syria and Iraq’s Neighbours Can Help Contain the Looting,” The Art Newspaper, December 18, 2014.

[41] David Kohn, “ISIS’s Looting Campaign,” The New Yorker, October 14, 2014.

[42] Dalya Alberge and Jane Arraf, “Loot, Sell, Bulldoze: Isis Grinds History to Dust,” The Sunday Times, July 13, 2014.

[43] Oliver Moody, “Isis Fills War Chest by Selling Looted Antiquities to the West,” The Times [London], December 17, 2014.

[44] Interview with journalist, specialist on the Middle-East, ARD, German Public Broadcaster, February 15, 2015; interview with Sam Hardy, February 12, 2015.

[45]  E. Nemeth, “Strategic Value of African Tribal Art: Auction Sales Trend as Cultural Intelligence,” Intelligence and National Security 27, no. 2 (April 2012) pp. 302-16; on the damage looting causes to communities, see Asif Efrat, Governing Guns, Preventing Plunder: International Cooperation against Illicit Trade (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012) pp. 116-17; Moody, “ISIS Fills War Chest.”

[46] Yochi Dreazen, “ISIS Uses Mafia Tactics to Fund Its Operations Without Help from Persian Gulf Donors,” Foreign Policy, July 17, 2014 ; “The ‘Islamic State’ and the Illegal Sale of Antiquities,” Abu Susu’s Blog, December 4, 2014; Onur Burcak Belli, Andrea Bohm, Alexander Buhler, Kerstin Kohlenberg, Stefan Meining, Yassin Musharbash, Mark Schieritz, Ahmet Senyurt, Birgit Svensson, Michael Thumann, Tobias Timm, and Fritz Zimmerman, “The Business of the Caliph,” Zeit Online, December 4, 2014; Sam Hardy, “The Antiquities Trade in the Islamic State: 12.5% Taxation of Private Looting-Smuggling Business,” Conflict Antiquities (blog), December 4, 2014; al-Azm et al., “ISIS’ Antiquities Sideline.”

[47] Author interview with journalist, specialist on the Middle-East, ARD, German Public Broadcaster, February 15, 2015.

[48] Joe Parkinson, Ayla Albayrak, and Duncan Mavin, “Syrian ‘Monuments Men’ Race to Protect Antiquities as Looting Bankrolls Terror,” Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2015; author interview with journalist, specialist on the Middle-East, ARD, German Public Broadcaster, February 15, 2015.

[49] The American Schools of Oriental Research, “Extensive Recent Looting Revealed,” ASORBlog, November 2014; Wren, “AAAS Analysis”; on local emirs and the determination of tax rates, see Alberge and Arraf, “Loot, Sell, Bulldoze.”

[50] Moody, “Isis Fills War Chest.”

[51] Michelle Nichols, “U.N. Security Council Ups Pressure On Islamic State Financing,” Reuters, February 5, 2015.

[52] Council Regulation (EU) No 1332/2013 of December13, 2013, Amending Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria.

[53] Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act, HR 5703, 113th Cong., 2nd Sess. 2014.

[54] Noah Charney, Paul Denton, and John Kleberg, “Protecting Cultural Heritage from Art Theft,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, March 2012.

[55] “Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk,” International Council of Museums, 2013.

[56] “Illicit Traffic of Cultural Property,” Paris: UNESCO, February 10, 2013.

[57] Taylor Luck, “Police Seize Large Cache of Syrian Artefacts,” Jordan Times, February 9, 2013.

[58]  Peter B. Campbell, “The Illicit Antiquities Trade as a Transnational Criminal Network: Characterizing and Anticipating Trafficking of Cultural Heritage,” International Journal of Cultural Property 20 (2013) p. 116; Jessica Dietzler, “On ‘Organized Crime’ in the Illicit Antiquities Trade: Moving Beyond the Definitional Debate,” Trends in Organized Crime 16, no. 3 (2013) p. 12; Asif Efrat, Governing Guns, Preventing Plunder: International Cooperation against Illicit Trade (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012) p. 119; Simon Mackenzie and Tess Davis, “Temple Looting in Cambodia: Anatomy of a Statue Trafficking Network,” British Journal of Criminology (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press: June 13, 2014) pp. 8:8-15.

[59] Peter B. Campbell, “Structure,” Illicit Antiquities (blog),; Campbell, “The Illicit Antiquities Trade”; for a detailed description of this “four-stage progression model,” see Dietzler, “On ‘Organized Crime’”; Efrat, Governing Guns, p. 119.

[60] Ali, “Syrian Heritage under Threat”; the full names of the acts are The Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

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