An archeologist likes to fantasize about vast treasure houses of looted antiquities in the deserts of Iraq or Syria, such ideas are merely "Fantasyland" according to trade representative Peter Tompa. Complete rubbish:
You can imagine too, can't you, the smiling Lebanese dealer shaking hands with the well-dressed man offering him some prime antiquities. The seller is an ISIL political officer, suave and well-groomed in a suit. The dealer is anticipating a good profit, he has some clients on his list (15000 people, you know) who he knows will be very interested in those Assyrian reliefs, no need to put them on open sale, he can sell directly. The coins he can shift too, to America - nobody there asks any difficult questions. Plausible? You bet. Did it happen? Could have.Mr Tompa, a respected Washington cultural property lawyer addressed this same issue in an earlier post:
This red herring first appeared after the initial phase of the Second Gulf War in 2003-2004 to explain why a promised avalanche of looted Iraqi antiquities never surfaced in the United States and other Western markets. As of 2013, before the rise of ISIS, these stolen artifacts still had not appeared in quantity. Is it reasonable to assume [such] secret facilities exist in today's Iraq and Syria? Or, is it more reasonable to believe that no rational middle man would create such "cold storage" in a "hot war zone" where one bomb or mortar shell could easily turn a treasure house into dust.Most likely the archeologists themselves have got this stuff stashed away in their own private collections, caveat emptor.