The Illicit Antiquities Trade and Terrorism Financing: From the Khmer Rouge to Daesh
Recent events have spurred an increase in an age-old practice: the looting, smuggling, and sale of artefacts to fund militant operations. It is now widely reported that terrorist organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have seized upon the instability in the Middle East to ramp up digging and black market smuggling operations, yielding militants millions of dollars annually in revenue. This chapter explores that source of terrorism funding. It first discusses the scope of the problem, both historically and today, with a focus on the Islamic State’s black market antiquities operations. It next examines current international and domestic legal frameworks, with a focus on the domestic law of one major marketplace of antiquities, the United States. The chapter concludes with recommendations for future efforts at staunching the trade.