Reuters have just published my analysis and opinion piece on how the West buys ‘conflict antiquities’ from Iraq and Syria (and funds terror), where I explain how the antiquities market, antiquities trafficking and cultural destruction are interlinked, how paramilitary profits from looting and smuggling underwrite the cost of war, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
What can be done?
As I conclude…
An emergency ban on trading in undocumented Syrian antiquities may help Syria now, but it will be no more effective against the perpetual, global threat than the ban on trading in undocumented Iraqi antiquities that preceded it.
Instead, it would make more sense for other nations to copy Germany’s law that will oblige dealers and collectors to present an export licence from where the object is coming from, in order to receive an import licence for any ancient artefact. That will cut the supply of illicit antiquities to the market, and thereby cut the flow of money to looting and smuggling mafias and militants.