Economics Of Terror
Underneath its much-publicised propaganda of the destruction of Assyrian and Babylonian sites, ISIS manages a remarkably well-organised trade in the artefacts
Prateek Sharma, Swati Sharma
On August 18, 2015, Khaled Mohamad al-Asaad, a Syrian archaeologist, was publically beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The cruel fate of Assad was not brought upon by conflicting with the religious ideology of ISIS, but because he refused to reveal information about thousands of invaluable artefacts hidden in the ancient city of Palmyra.
Underneath its much-publicised propaganda of the destruction of Assyrian and Babylonian sites, ISIS manages a remarkably well-organised trade in the artefacts plundered from these ancient cities. Everything from frescoes, busts, to entire statues smuggled from Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site, is flooding the antiquities black markets in Europe.
A Lebanese-French archaeologist, Joanne Farchakh, claims that antiquities from Palmyra are already available for sale in London. According to the records maintained by Abu Sayyaf, a key ISIS member killed in a United States air raid last year, this systemic trade in Syrian antiquities generates hundreds of millions of dollars for ISIS.