It’s hardly a secret that trafficking of cultural goods and art pieces ranks third on the profitability list after drugs and weapons trafficking. For example, a recent WTO report states that in 2016 alone authorities of various seized well over 8300 such items, of which 6 600 were antiques. The contraband flow is mainly heading to the United States, with main trafficking routes running through Turkey and Lebanon. Across the US there’s a number of towns that serve as a hub for the transportation of stolen relics, among which one can find Jacksonville (Florida) and Washington, DC, where antiques are being sorted and then redirected to unknown destinations within the state.
Colored revolutions and military conflicts that have been plaguing the Middle East over last decades have spawned a massive market of stolen art monuments, which has only grown bigger since the war in Iraq. Generally, marauders are trying to smuggle both whole objects, as well as those pieces of them that they deem most valuable, if they fail to get the whole artifact past the border. Those are to be found everywhere, committing theft in museums, private homes and archaeological sites. Such crimes is a daily occurrence across the war-torn region and the number of those willing to get rich overnight keeps growing.
That’s how art pieces are being trafficked from poor countries to those that are deemed developed, like EU states and the US, with the better part of these committed in the period when the West unleashed a string of armed intervention against sovereign Middle Eastern, which casted a huge blow to local law enforcement agencies that were no longer capable of safeguarding the cultural heritage of their states.
If you take a closer look into matter and pay attention to the data released by Interpol and various auction houses, it becomes obvious that the absolute majority of Oriental antiques are being smuggled by American servicemen, both former and acting that have been over the course of the last two decades deployed all across the Arab East. American military personnel has huge bags to pack everything that, in their opinion, is of high value and will be in demand back at home. While acting as liberators when they are taking various cities,