ISIS and Antiquities: The Missing Pieces

25 Jan 2016 12:30 PM | Anonymous

ISIS and Antiquities: The Missing Pieces.

Alex Joffe

January 25, 2016 Why does ISIS destroy and loot antiquities? Two explanations have been offered. This first is Islamic antipathy towards the pre-Islamic past. The second is that the group profits from selling looted antiquities. But there is a third and equally sinister reason that has barely been mentioned. Both destruction and looting comprise a system of social control over captive populations, a system that strives to regulate individual behavior down to the level of digging holes in the ground.

ISIS's ideological animosity is clear enough. It is loudly trumpeted in their propaganda videos that show the destruction of antiquities sites and museums. It is also patiently explained in their online magazine Dabiq, which taunted

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