In an interview given in Athens Marine Reserve Col. Matthew Bogdanos claimed:
The Taliban are using opium to finance their activities in Afghanistan ... Well, they don't have opium in Iraq ... What they have is an almost limitless supply of is antiquities. And so they're using antiquities.Part of the evidence comes from the recovery in 2006 of antiquities, stolen from the National Museum, in bunkers alongside "weapons, ammunition and uniforms".
The Art Loss Register (ALR) has responded in a way that shows its staff do not understand the issues surrounding the looting of antiquities:
Antonia Kimbell, an art trade manager at The Art Loss Register — which maintains a database on stolen, missing and looted art — said she had yet to see concrete evidence connecting the trade in illegal antiquities and insurgent financing.No doubt somebody forgot to register the pieces with the ALR database before they were buried several thousand years ago.
"We haven't come across a direct link," she said.
But the key issue raised by Bogdanos is who is buying the antiquities?
I doubt museums or private collectors are acquiring things direct from Iraq.
So presumably pieces are being supplied directly to dealers. And who is purchasing recently surfaced Mesopotamian antiquities? And will they claim that they have been "acquired legally"?
Bogadanos has certainly supplied some food for thought in this anniversary week.