New Bill Impedes Smugglers Seeking American Market For ISIS-Looted, Syrian Antiquities
The Islamic State has reaped millions off selling antiquities, but new legislation seeks to hinder the lucrative business, interdicting Syrian spoils before entering the U.S.
The House unanimously passed the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act on Monday.
Looting by Islamic State jihadis makes up the group’s second-largest source of income, helping fund the terror organization’s repressive measures. The legislation seeks to hinder the Islamic State’s ability to carry out these atrocities by targeting a key source of revenue.
By prohibiting looted Syrian antiquities from entering America, the bill is meant to discourage smugglers from buying looted property from the Islamic State, recognizing they won’t have a market in the U.S., according to a congressional aide who spoke to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Sponsored by Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, the bill calls on the Department of State to create a red list, enabling border authorities to identify objects and prevent entry, reports Al Monitor. A law passed in 2004 made it illegal for stolen Iraqi artifacts to enter the country, according to the aide.
Smugglers or middlemen often wait several years to sell antiquities, but the bill is intended to impede this strategy.
The Islamic State overran the 4,000 year-old Syrian city of Palmyra last month, a major tourist destination until the war broke out in 2011. (ISIS’ War On History Claims Precious 4,000 Year-Old City)
Satellite imagery has shown locations pillaged by Islamic State jihadis in Syria.
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