June 25, 2003

Details on Museum Looting

Perhaps the most thorough reporting on the looting of the Iraqi National Museum by Iraqi civilians that I have seen is this report by Roger Atwood, who spent a week in Baghdad in May interviewing Iraqi officials, U.S. officers, and eye witnesses to the events.

A couple of things seem certain based on this report. First, that the Iraqi Revolutionary Guard had fortified the museum as a military base, and coalition troops were under attack from inside the museum complex when they entered Baghdad, helping to explain why their first priority was not to "secure" the museum's artifacts.

Second, that while the losses were far short of the 170,000 pieces figure originally reported, there were significant losses to looting in this museum and other locations, well above the various "revised" figures ranging from 17 to 33 or so now being reported in the conservative press , a figure now said to be the approximate number of "major" pieces missing.

ABC News also reports on the recovery of the famous Treasure of Nimrud, which was found safe and intact in a flooded bank basement, where it had been stashed in 1990, before Gulf War I.

Posted by dan at June 25, 2003 11:26 AM