I just wanted to highlight that Christopher Jones (@cwjones89) has done sterling work in identifying and describing the victimised sites in the Islamic State’s donor brochure of destruction. He posted it while I was writing up the (updated but nevertheless merely) least out-of-date news on looting and destruction in Iraq.
In his original post, Jones observed that the range of Sufi, Shia and Sunni targets reaffirmed that the Islamic State’s targets were ‘not only political but also theological’. In his update, Jones notes another way that research into looting and destruction could contribute to reducing threats and harm: ‘attraction to ISIS’ ideology could be broken if ISIS are shown to be hypocrites‘ – and their simultaneous preaching of annihilation and profiteering from trafficking is hypocritical.
Such hypocrisy might be excused as necessary evil for the greater good(1), or defended along the lines of ethnic cleansing in terms of nonetheless purifying Islamic space, but the criticism is a worthwhile strategy.
1: I don’t think that the technical term is Taqiyya (denial of faith or other blasphemy in the course of self-defence), especially as that is a Shia doctrine, but I can’t remember what the term is.