How the West buys ‘conflict antiquities’ from Iraq and Syria (and funds terror)

28 Oct 2014 11:36 AM | Anonymous

How the West buys ‘conflict antiquities’ from Iraq and Syria (and funds terror)

By Sam Hardy
October 27, 2014
 
“Many antique collectors unwillingly support terrorists like Islamic State, ” Michel van Rijn, one of the most successful smugglers of antique artifacts in the past century, told German broadcaster Das Erste this month
 
And smuggling is booming in Iraq and Syria right now. In Iraq, 4,500 archaeological sites, some of them UNESCO World Heritage sites, are reportedly controlled by Islamic State and are exposed to looting. Iraqi intelligence claim that Islamic State alone has collected as much as $36 million from the sales of artifacts, some of them thousands of years old. The accounts data have not been released for verification but, whatever the exact number is, the sale of conflict antiquities to fund military and paramilitary activity is real and systematic.