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War and Occupation in Iraq - Chapter 2 English


Chapter 2

Destruction of Cultural Heritage

"Stuff happens . . . Freedom is untidy."

– US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld [1]

During the war and occupation, the Coalition has failed to protect Iraq 's incomparable cultural heritage, exposing it to looters and art thieves. The National Library and the National Museum , [2] along with many other important cultural institutions, were badly damaged and looted in the early days of the occupation. Since then, the Coalition has built encampments on sensitive archaeological sites and destroyed historic cities during military operations. In spite of many pleas from around the world, the occupiers have left Iraq 's archeological sites exposed to thieves, in gross disregard of international law. Looters have now pillaged dozens of the most important sites and every day the looting continues.

Warnings and Other Opinions as War Approached

In the run-up to the invasion of March 2003, professional associations and individual scholars contacted authorities in Washington and London , warning of the dangers to Iraq 's cultural heritage. Eight thousand years of history in the fertile valley of Mesopotamia produced some of the world's greatest cultural treasures and sites, in the land that is now Iraq . This rich heritage includes collections of extraordinary museums and libraries, as well as historic buildings, old cities, and hundreds of important archeological sites. Some of the world's leading scholars of archaeology, art and history warned of damage during military operations and especially the danger of post-war looting. [3]

In January 2003, a delegation of scholars, museum directors, art collectors and antiquities dealers met with officials at the Pentagon to discuss the implications of the invasion. [4] They warned that Baghdad 's National Museum was the single most important site in the country. [5] One of the delegation members, McGuire Gibson of the University of Chicago , twice returned to the Pentagon to discuss precautions the Coalition should take. [6] He and his colleagues sent several e-mail reminders to military commanders in the weeks before the war began. [7] "I thought I was given assurances that sites and museums would be protected," Gibson later remarked. [8]

As the conflict neared, the Archaeological Institute of America, the International Council of Museums, the International Committee of the Blue Shield and other professional organizations issued public warnings and gave further specific information about cultural treasures to be protected. [9] They reminded US and UK leaders of their responsibilities under international law, notably the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Properties in the Event of Armed Conflict. [10] They urged that protection of Iraq 's cultural sites and institutions be a high priority for the occupying forces. [11]

But conflicting advice was also offered to the war-planners by a group of self-interested dealers and wealthy collectors. The American Council for Cultural Property, founded in late 2002 with a focus on Middle Eastern art and antiquities, saw the war as offering opportunities for Iraq 's heritage to reach international buyers. [12] Ashton Hawkins, the group's president, welcomed the "legitimate dispersal of cultural material through the market," arguing that this was "the best way to preserve it." [13]

Council members met with officials in the State Department and the Pentagon prior to the war and again in April 2003. [14] The Council enjoyed strong connections to the Bush administration, and one of its leaders was a member of the President's Cultural Property Advisory Committee. The new lobby argued that Iraq 's laws should be changed to allow more excavation digging and more exporting of valuable art objects. The group even offered post-war technical assistance to Iraq 's government and museums. [15]

Concerned scholarly organizations were alarmed at this new lobby group. Many scholars have argued that trade and collecting of antiquities tend to fuel the looting and destruction of archeological sites, as well as promoting theft from museums. [16] Dominique Collon of the British Museum , commenting in early 2003 on the collectors' lobbying, said: "This is just the sort of thing that will encourage looting. Once there is American blessing they have got a market for these antiquities and it becomes open season. The last thing we want is condoned looting." [17]

The Early Looting

The troops that captured Baghdad and other Iraqi cities in early April 2003 did not act to protect cultural sites. They neither took up protective positions nor prevented acts of looting and destruction, even when asked to do so by concerned civilians. [18] Since the most important cultural institutions stood in two small areas of the city, military commanders could have taken simple steps, such as those used to safeguard Iraq 's Oil Ministry. Several tanks and detachments of foot soldiers, were stationed nearby. They could easily have intervened, but the soldiers said their orders prevented them from getting involved. [19] Having demobilized the Iraqi army and police force, Coalition commanders exposed Iraq 's cultural treasures to great danger and almost certain damage.

Attacks on the heritage sites began soon after the old regime collapsed, as part of widespread looting and destruction of government buildings and other targets. As the art scholars had warned, looting often happens when public order breaks down, even in cities like Montreal and New York . [20] In Iraq , looters seem to have had several different motivations. Some were expressing their anger at the old regime. Some were neighborhood thieves. Some appear to have been organized political groups (such as those that burned the archives of the Saddam era in the National Library). And some were well-organized art thieves with knowledge of what they were after. The chief US investigator later speculated that the thieves had advance "orders" from international dealers. Among the evidence: they cut off the heads of heavy stone statures with special saws and stole only the most valuable works. [21]

While art thieves took the world-class exhibition objects, rare books, and other high-value items, local neighborhood looters made off with computers, printers, photocopy machines, conservation materials, lighting fixtures, furniture, carpets, generators and air conditioners. Some looters even tore copper wiring out of the walls and removed windows and doors. For various reasons, the looters set fires, leaving extreme devastation behind. [22]

Many concerned Iraqis took risks and made great efforts to prevent the looting and to protect the endangered cultural heritage. Institution staff secured many of the most precious objects in basement storerooms or special bunkers. [23] While Baghdad was under air attack, and even after the looting started, rescue efforts were undertaken. A local imam arranged to store part of the National Library's collections in the local Haqq mosque for safekeeping. [24] Volunteers carried thousands of books and manuscripts through the streets, even though armed looters might have attacked them at any time. The imam also helped library staff to weld shut a steel fire door to prevent further looting. [25]

As early news of cultural destruction spread, international cultural bodies and scholarly groups renewed their pleas to Coalition military and civilian leaders. In Iraq , staff and officials of cultural institutions also made urgent requests for protection, both to troops stationed in the neighborhood and to officers at headquarters in the Palestine Hotel. [26] But commanders still failed to act quickly. On April 11, at the height of the looting, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismissed reports of cultural devastation from Baghdad as misplaced and exaggerated. [27] Damage continued for days. [28]

Three members of the White House Cultural Property Advisory Committee resigned almost immediately to protest the US government's responsibility. "The tragedy was not prevented, due to our nation's inaction," Martin Sullivan, the committee's chairman, wrote in his letter of resignation. [29]

Detailed Losses to Manuscript Collections, Archives and Libraries

The National Library in Baghdad suffered two fires – on April 10 and 12 – which badly damaged a major section at the front of the building. [30] About a quarter of the total book collection was looted or burned, including rare books and newspapers. Fire consumed as much as 60% of the Ottoman and royal Hashemite documents, and nearly all government archives of more recent vintage went up in smoke. [31] Virtually all the collection of maps and photographs was destroyed. [32] Ash and soot damaged much of the remaining collections. [33]

Baghdad 's other major libraries suffered as well. The National Manuscript Library building sustained serious damage due to fire and looting, but librarians and local citizens managed to save its collections in a special bunker. [34] Thieves pillaged and partially burned the manuscript collections of the Beit al-Hikma – the House of Science. [35]Fire badly damaged the Library of Religious Endowments. Curators saved much of the manuscript collections, though more than 1,000 were stolen and more than 500 burned. [36]A number of other Baghdad libraries suffered from looting, including the Iraqi Academy of Sciences library, the al-Mustansiriya University Library, and the Baghdad Medical College Library. [37] The entire library of the University of Baghdad 's College of Arts burned to ashes. [38]

Outside Baghdad , where Coalition protection was likewise nil, similar disasters struck. The Central Library of the University of Basra went up in flames, with a loss of at least 70% of its collections. Other university and municipal libraries of that city suffered a similar fate. [39] Vandals looted the Mosul University central library, which lost up to a third of its collections. [40]

Losses to Museums and Damage to Historic Buildings

Looters struck the National Museum on three separate occasions between April 10 and 12 th while Coalition forces did nothing. Thieves took 14-15,000 objects altogether, including coins, sculpture, ceramics, metalwork, architectural fragments, cuneiform tablets and most of the Museum's collection of valuable Sumerian cylindrical seals. [41] The famous alabaster "Warka Lady" dating from about 3100 BC disappeared, along with forty other objects of world renown. On April 16, four days after the looting ended, Coalition forces finally came to secure the premises. [42] Luckily, the museum's curators had transferred many objects in the collection to safe bunkers prior to the war and these were mostly intact. The Museum lost much of its card catalogues and computer files, including unique records of archaeological digs.

Outside Baghdad , looters and thieves attacked other important institutions including the Mosul Museum . There they stole hundreds of objects, including sixteen bronze Assyrian door panels from the city gates of Balawat (9th century BC), as well as reliefs and clay cuneiform tablets from important sites such as Nineva and Nimrud . [43] Rare books, maps and manuscripts also disappeared. [44]

Looters damaged or destroyed some of Iraq 's most beautiful historic buildings and old city neighborhoods. In Baghdad, US forces failed to stop 12 weeks of plunder of the city's old cultural and administrative center, an area that includes the 12th century ‘Abbasid Palace, the 14th century Madrasa al-Mustansiriya, the 16th century Saray Mosque, the Suq al-Saray (a handsome covered marketplace where old books were sold) and the 19 th century Saray administrative complex. [45] The thieves looted and set several buildings on fire, taking furniture, fixtures, doors, windows, wall paneling, and floor tiles. They stripped everything, including even architectural details. [46] Over several months, thieves freely took apart some of the Ottoman Qishla (barracks) in Baghdad brick by brick. [47] As a Blue Cross report concluded, during the many weeks of pillage: "appeals to the cultural committee of the Coalition Provisional Authority were fruitless." [48]

Looting of Archaeological Sites

Iraq 's archaeological sites include more than 150 ancient Sumerian cities and towns as well as the later great capitals of Babylon , Nimrud and Nineva. Altogether, there are about 12,000 sites in the country. [49] Scholars had pointed out to Coalition authorities that looting destroys the archaeological record which is the very basis for our understanding of ancient history. The record can only be understood by careful excavation and record keeping by professional archaeologists. [50]

The Coalition provided the sites with almost no meaningful protection. As a result, looters set immediately to work. Thousands of local Iraqis, many apparently in the pay of art thieves, descended on the sites, using shovels and even backhoes to dig for valuable coins, cylinder seals, pottery, clay tablets, stone carvings and other items. [51] The most intense looting has been in the South, where the most ancient sites are located. [52]

In October 2003, a knowledgeable military officer commented that although the CPA had hired 1,675 Iraqi guards to protect 3,000 sites "they are inadequately trained and equipped," and they "have little formal security training, communications assets or vehicles." [53] In November 2003, Dr. John Malcolm Russell, a CPA cultural advisor, said bluntly that for the Coalition "the protection of archaeological sites is not a priority." [54]

Over time, the looters have become increasingly audacious and well-organized. At some major sites, thieves have hired hundreds of people to do the work, bussing them in from local towns. The Iraqi government has paid little attention to the issue. Its budget for guards to protect the sites ran out of funds in mid-2006, even though the cost for proper protection would probably be no more than $3-4 million. [55] In September 2006, McGuire Gibson told The Washington Post "There has been looting of sites on an industrial scale. Some of the greatest Sumerian sites have gone." [56] The World Monuments Fund commented bitterly that Iraq 's sites "are being ravaged by looters who work day and night to fuel an international art market hungry for antiquities." [57]

Coalition Cultural Destruction

Coalition military operations have seriously damaged historic sites, landmark buildings and old city neighborhoods. They have had an especially harsh impact on old neighborhoods, including much of the central area of the holy city of Najaf , destroyed in a confrontation of Coalition forces with Mahdi Army irregulars in August, 2004. Coalition bombardment destroyed 65 mosques in the attack on Falluja in November 2004, while Coalition aerial and ground attacks have reduced old buildings to rubble in Tal Afar, Ramadi, Samarra and a number of other cities.

In some cases, Coalition forces have caused serious, irreversible damage to important archeological sites. The US military built bases on the sites of ancient Babylon and Ur . At Babylon , construction crews used heavy earth-moving equipment as they built a helicopter landing pad, installed fuel tanks and concrete walls, and dug a dozen deep trenches. They brought in tons of gravel to make parking lots for military vehicles, next to a Greek theatre built for Alexander of Macedon. [58] Polish troops camped at Babylon (known as Camp Alpha ) from September 2003 to January 2005.

Dr. John Curtis, Keeper of the British Museum 's Near East Department, issued a scathing report on the overall damage. [59] He found military fortification sandbags shoveled full of archaeological material from the site, including shards, bones, and ancient bricks. Parts of ancient buildings had collapsed. [60] International scholars and Iraqi leaders pled with US commanders, but the camp was not vacated until January 15, 2005 . The Polish government later apologized for its complicity. [61]

Cultural Neglect and Lack of Protection During the Occupation

In the early days of the occupation, in response to public criticism of the looting, the US and UK governments announced that they would take vigorous steps to recover the objects stolen from the National Museum, restore damage to the National Library and revive the culture of Iraq that had been so badly served during the era of Saddam Hussein. The State Department, USAID, the Library of Congress, the British Museum and the British Council all launched special programs. [62] Even the Pentagon, the FBI and the US Customs service got involved.

On April 15 2003, three days after the first news of the looting, the British Museum convened a press conference to pledge UK and international support for Baghdad 's plundered National Museum . Ironically, during the news conference, a satellite phone call to the head of Iraq 's Board of Antiquities revealed that the museum was still unprotected and exposed to further looting. [63] After protests by scholars and embarrassment at Downing Street , Coalition troops finally arrived to secure the museum the following day.

Washington later sent FBI agents and customs officers to Baghdad to track down the lost National Museum objects. US Marine Colonel Matthew Bogdanos took charge of a recovery campaign, beginning in the local neighborhood. Iraqi clerics meanwhile had denounced cultural thievery and insisted that stolen objects be returned. An international effort eventually recovered, repurchased or seized in customs more than five thousand objects. [64]But in October 2003, after just six months, commanders reassigned Bogdanos and the hunt for museum objects lost momentum.

In the early days of the occupation, the Coalition Provisional Authority also named special advisors on cultural matters. John Agresto, the new CPA higher education chief, asked for an allocation of $1.2 billion to revive Iraq 's universities. But he got only $9 million in the 2004 budget, as official enthusiasm quickly waned. [65] When he departed in 2005, he was not replaced. [66] A similar fate befell René Teijgeler, a Dutchman who was named Senior Consultant for Culture, with a portfolio that included libraries and museums. The CPA budgeted so little that Teijgeler could not begin to address the emergency. CPA chief Paul Bremer clearly had little interest in the subject. When Teijgeler left in 2005 he, too, was not replaced. [67]

The Library of Congress proposed an expansive plan for a new National Library, as well as a training program for Iraqi librarians, elaborated during a special mission to Baghdad in October, 2003. [68] The Washington experts decided that the new library should be housed in a beautiful modern building by the Tigris that had been the Senior Officers' Club in the Saddam era. The CPA applauded the idea and the US press was duly alerted. But in the end, Bremer gave the Officers' Club to other supplicants, and virtually all the promised US assistance to restore the National Library came to naught.

Saad Eskander took office as the National Library's new Director in December 2003. Though eight months had passed after the fires and looting, the building was still "in a ruinous state." "There was no money, no water, no electricity, no paper, no pens, no furniture," he later reported. [69] The CPA had allotted the Library a budget of just $70,000 for 2004, to cover all expenses, including repairs and the purchase of new furniture and equipment. [70] Eskander concluded after a year in office that "The Library of Congress team seems to have forgotten its promises." [71]

USAID, the development agency, launched with fanfare five projects in 2003 to support Iraqi libraries, museums and antiquities programs. Several universities signed up to help train librarians and museum staff, promote legal research, organize online scholarly resources and more. After positive beginnings and with training projects already under way, USAID failed to fund beyond the first year and the programs mostly collapsed. [72] Under Ambassador John Negroponte, priorities were shifting in favor of "security." Culture, under-funded though it was, took some of the budget cuts.

The British made a few grand gestures but in practice did little to address the culture debacle. In response to the public outcry over the first wave of looting, the Secretary of State for Culture, Tessa Jowell, promised on April 29 that the government would make available £15 million for cultural restoration projects. Protection of archaeological sites was to be included. But the promise was soon forgotten and the UK government never set up such a program. [73]

The British Council, the UK 's cultural service, announced in 2003 that it was collecting books for shipment to Iraq to replace some of the damaged collections. English universities donated thousands of books and periodicals, but there was no effort to determine what might be needed in Iraq and how the materials would find their way into Iraqi libraries. [74] Eventually, the Council shipped 25 tons of books via Amman to Baghdad , where they languished for many months in a warehouse. It still is not clear where the books ended up, or whether they were useful to Iraqi readers or to libraries gutted by looting. [75]

The Museum and the Library – Further Developments

The National Museum has regained some of its collections, but the institution has never recovered. Donny George, President of Iraq's State Board of Antiquities and Heritage and Director of the National Museum fled to Syria in August 2006 and from there he submitted his resignation. [76] Before leaving Iraq , he ordered the doors of the National Museum sealed with concrete to protect against further looting. George found "intolerable" the ongoing failure of Iraqi leaders and the US military to protect the archeological sites. [77] In Baghdad , the Culture Ministry has not announced plans to reopen it. Surrounded by weeds, it now sits behind metal gates, sandbags and concertina wire, another symbol of the unraveling occupation. [78]

The story of the National Library is grim, but slightly more hopeful. Director Saad Eskander managed to rebuild his institution in spite of US and UK neglect. With small grants from the Czech Republic and help from two NGOs, as well as Iraqi government budget support, Eskander managed to restore the damaged library building, enlarge his staff, and begin the difficult task of restoring the catalogue and conserving damaged holdings. [79] His multi-ethnic and non-political staff includes Sunni, Shia, Kurds and others. The library obtained computers and internet access thanks to Italian and Japanese help and it has managed to open regularly to the public. [80] But the Library has not been spared the violence of occupied Baghdad nor has it had proper protection. Eskander has posted a chilling blog on the internet, where he has told of the killing of members of his staff and a car bombing of an important publishing house. [81] Through guts and determination, the library continues its work but it is unclear how long it can continue.


Under the Geneva Conventions, occupation forces must ensure public order and prevent looting. More specifically, the Geneva and Hague Conventions require the protection of cultural property against destruction and theft and prohibit its use in support of military action. The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) further specifies that an occupying power must take necessary measures to safeguard and preserve the cultural property of the occupied country and must prevent or put a stop to "any form of theft, pillage or misappropriation of, and any acts of vandalism directed against, cultural property." The Coalition has ignored and violated these international laws, resulting in great and irreparable damage to the cultural heritage of Iraq and all humanity.


Next Chapter: "Indiscriminate and Especially Injurious Weapons"

[1] US Department of Defense, News Briefing by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Meyers (April 11, 2003). See Sean Loughlin, "Rumsfeld on Looting in Iraq " CNN (April 12, 2003)

[2] We have used here the most common English language names for these institutions. Their formal names are: Iraq National Library and Archive and Iraq Museum .

[3] Donald MacLeod, "Scholars Move to Protect ‘Priceless' Iraqi Heritage" Guardian (March 21, 2003)

[4] Andrew Lawler, "Impending War Stokes Battle Over Iraqi Antiquities" Science (January 31, 2003)


[6] McGuire Gibson is a Professor of Mesopotamian Archaeology. See "Cultural Tragedy in Iraq : A Report on the Looting of Museums, Archives, and Sites" in Art Loss in Iraq : An Update - Edited Proceedings: IFAR Evening (October 28, 2004)

[7] Guy Gugliotta, "Pentagon Was Told of Risk to Museums: US Urged to Save Iraq's Historic Artifacts" Washington Post (April 14, 2003)

[8]Ibid .

[9] See, for example, the Statement by the International Committee of the Blue Shield (March 7, 2003), the "Open Declaration on Cultural Heritage at Risk in Iraq" (March 21, 2003) signed by 13 professional societies and research programs as well as about 180 scholars; and the Statement by the Archaeological Institute of America and the American Association for Research in Baghdad (April 9, 2003).

[10]Ibid. See also "Concern for Cultural Heritage in Iraq" Archaeological Institute of America (December 18, 2002); also: Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), "Resolution Regarding War and the Destruction of Antiquities" Archeology Magazine (January/February, 2003); also Guy Gugliotta, "Iraq War Could Put Ancient Treasures at Risk" Washington Post (March 3, 2003)

[11] David Tresilian, "‘Cultural Catastrophe' Hits Iraq " Al Ahram (April 24-30, 2003)

[12] The new organization appears to have been founded with the war especially in mind. See Lawler, op. cit.

[13] As quoted by David Darcy, "Legal Group to Fight ‘Retentionist' Policies" Art Newspaper (October 24, 2002)

[14] Lawler, op. cit.

[15] Donald MacLeod, "US Lobby Could Threaten Iraqi Heritage" Guardian (April 10, 2003)

[16] Zainab Bahrani, "Looting and Conquest" The Nation (May 26, 2003)

[17] As quoted in MacLeod, op. cit.

[18] It seems that the earliest measure of protection was taken on April 16, at the National Museum , eight days after Coalition forces seized Baghdad .

[19] There are many reports of Coalition units refusing to protect cultural sites, even when located nearby. See e.g. Nabil al-Tikriti, "Iraq Manuscript Collections, Archives & Libraries Situation Report" (June 8, 2003) [Oriental Institute, University of Chicago ]

[20] Jeffrey B. Spurr, "Iraqi libraries and Archives in Peril" Middle East Librarians Association (April 2007) p. 9

[21] Matthew Bogdanos, Thieves of Baghdad ( New York , 2005)


[23] Stephen Farrell and Rana Sabbagh-Gargour, "For Sale : A Nation's Treasures" Times, London (July 2, 2005)

[24] Jeffrey B. Spurr, "Indispensable yet Vulnerable: The Library in Dangerous Times, Preface to a Report on the Condition of Iraqi libraries and Efforts to provide assistance to them" Middle East Librarians Association, Iraq Crisis website (May, 2005)


[26] al-Tikriti, op. cit.

[27] Loughlin, op. cit.

[28] al-Tikriti, op. cit ., provides powerful examples.

[29] Robert K McCartney, "Expert Thieves Took Artifacts, UNESCO Says" Washington Post (April 18, 2003)

[30] Saad Eskander, "The Tale of Iraq's ‘ Cemetery of Books '" Information Today (December 2004). See also Spurr, "Iraqi Libraries" op.cit., pp. 16-18

[31] Eskander, op.cit.


[33] Jeffrey B. Spurr, "Indispensable yet Vulnerable: The Library in Dangerous Times, Preface to a Report on the Condition of Iraqi Libraries and Efforts to Provide Assistance to Them" Middle East Librarians Association, Iraq Crisis website (May 2005). See also May-Jane Deeb, et al, "The Library of Congress and the U.S. Department of State Mission to Baghdad : Report on the National Library and the House of Manuscripts" (October 27-November 3, 2003)

[34] Spurr, "Iraqi Libraries" op.cit. pp. 29-30

[35]Ibid ., p. 29.

[36]Ibid ., pp. 28-29

[37] al-Tikriti, op. cit.

[38] Spurr, "Iraqi Libraries" op. cit.

[39] Spurr, "Iraqi Libraries" op. cit. p. 32

[40] Al-Tikriti, op. cit.

[41] See John F Burns, " Pillagers Strip Iraqi Museum of its Treasure" New York Times (April 12, 2003)

[42] McGuire Gibson, "Cultural Tragedy in Iraq : A Report on the Looting of Museums, Archives, and Sites" in Art Loss in Iraq : An Update - Edited Proceedings: International Foundation for Art Research (October 28, 2004). See also Milbry Park and Angela M H Schuster, The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad: The Lost Legacy of Ancient Mesopotamia ( New York : Harry N. Abrams, 2005)

[43] Mark Fisher, "Tomb Raiders" Guardian (January 19 , 2006)

[44] Douglas Birch, "In North Iraq, and Ancient Past Falls Victim to a Modern War" Baltimore Sun (April 18, 2003)

[45] International Committee of the Blue Cross, Heritage at Risk 2004/2005 , Chapter on Iraq , p. 120




[49] Susan Breitkopf, "Lost: The Looting of Iraq's Antiquities," Museum News , American Association of Museums (January/February, 2007)

[50] See, for example, the statement by many leading scholars at the workshop on "The Threat to Iraq 's Cultural Heritage," held at the University of Chicago 's Oriental Institute on July 23, 2005, posted on the web at

[51] Guy Gugliotta, "Looted Iraqi Relics Slow to Surface" Washington Post (November 8, 2005)

[52] Scholar Elizabeth Stone studied satellite photographs of an area of the South and found a total of 17 square kilometers of looted sites (personal communication).

[53] Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, as quoted in Cindy Ho, "Heritage Lost: looting of archeological sites continues in Iraq " (2004)


[55] Breitkopf, op. cit.

[56] Sumedha Senanayake, " Iraq : Antiquities Continue to be Pillaged, Destroyed" Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (October 12, 2006)

[57] Stephen Farrell and Rana Sabbagh-Gargour, "For Sale: A Nation's Treasures" Times, London (July 2, 2005)

[58] Mark Fisher, "Tomb Raiders" Guardian (January 19, 2006)

[59] John Curtis, "Report on Meeting at Babylon 11-13 th December, 2004" British Museum (2005). See also Joanne Farchakh Bejjaly, "History Lost in Dust of War-Torn Iraq" BBC (April 25, 2005) and Rory McCarthy and Maev Kennedy, "Babylon Wrecked by War" Guardian (January 15, 2005)


[61] " Poland Apologizes for Damage Troops Inflicted on Babylon " History News Network (August 3, 2005)

[62] Other US institutions involved at that time were: the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

[63] Martin Bailey, "After the Looting Was Over" Apollo (May 2004)

[64] Mark Rose, "A Conversation with Matthew F. Bogdanos" Archaeology Magazine (October 16, 2003); Mary Wiltenburg, "‘Pit Bull' Dogs Iraq Looters" Christian Science Monitor (February 20, 2004)

[65] Spurr, "Iraqi Libraries" pp. 34-35

[66]Ibid ., p. 21

[67]Ibid ., p. 34

[68] Mary-Jane Deeb, et al, "Report on the National Library and the House of Manuscripts" Library of Congress (November, 2003)

[69] Eskander, "The Tale" op.cit.



[72] Spurr, "Iraqi Libraries" op.cit. pp. 38-45

[73] Marie Woolf, "Desecration of the Cradle of Civilization," Independent (April 15, 2007)

[74]Ibid . pp. 52-53

[75]Ibid . p. 53

[76] He later took up a post as resident scholar at Stony Brook University .

[77] Ellen Knickmeyer, " Iraq 's Head of Antiquities Quits After Looting of Ancient Treasures" Washington Post (August 28, 2006)

[78] Ellen Knickmeyer, " Iraqi Museum Sealed Against Looters" Washington Post (August 27, 2006)

[79] Eskander, "The Tale" op.cit.


[81] "Diary of Saad Eskander" posted at



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