The Iraq War & Archaeology
Reviewed Articles Archive Fifty-Four: Second 1/2 of June 2005

This is the fifty-fourth archive of the reviewed articles of The Iraq War & Archaeology web site.

Francis Deblauwe, Ph.D.

The articles and other information are listed chronologically, most recent first.
Almost all are accessible for free (or after a free registration) on the internet.  Each time, I try to draw attention to the most relevant tidbits of information, esp. things that were not mentioned before; occasionally, I provide some comment.  The usual warning applies: many links become defective with time.  Inclusion in the list does not in any way mean that I necessarily agree with the opinions expressed in an article.  But for a few exceptions, the occasional photos and figures accompanying reviewed articles are just hotlinked images on other web sites, in other words: do not download them or request permission to publish them from me, for I do not own the copyright to them in any way!  Please do contact the rightful owners if you would like to use them for publication purposes. Finally, for the sake of convenience, all articles and so on are assumed to have been published on US web sites unless indicated otherwise.

  • H.M. Fattah, "Banned, Saddam Hussein the Literary Lion Roars Again," in The New York Times, June 30, 2005: "The unpublished novel 'Get Out, You Damned One' will not win any literary awards. A forgettable piece of pulp, it features a scheming traitor, an invading army of Zionist-Christian infidels and an Arab liberator. The only thing that sets the novel apart from numerous others like it in Arab bookstores is its author: Saddam Hussein." "The novel, which Mr. Hussein is said to have completed on the eve of the American invasion in 2003, is seen as a prescient picture of the occupation of Iraq. It opens with a narrator who appears to be modeled on the story of Abraham warning his grandsons of Satan's hold over Babylon."

    Photo: "The cover of a 2003 novel by Saddam Hussein, 'Get Out, You Damned One.' It depicts Satan's hold over Babylon, and an Arab liberator."

  • "Ancient heritage of Iraq," in Australian Government. Department of Defence (Australia), online, June 28, 2005: "The Australian Defence Force contingent in southern Iraq, the Al Muthanna Task Group (AMTG), is treating with respect the ancient history of the region, which extends to the shared origins of western and Middle Eastern civilisation and cultures. One of the archaeological treasures of Iraq, the Great Ziggurat of Ur, is located outside the Tallil Air Base, where an Australian logistics detachment is located."

    Photo: "20050615adf8239682_029  -  Australian Army ASLAV armoured vehicles in front of the Great Ziggurat of Ur, a four-thousand-year-old temple which is one of the archaeological treasures of southern Iraq.  (Date taken: 15 June 2005)"
  • M.V. Chandler, "Art helped 'dreamer' survive nightmare," in Rocky Mountain News (Colorado), June 25, 2005: "Halim Mahdi al-Karim appears for an interview in a cloud of perfume, his long black hair drifting around his shoulders. He wears bright colors, the colors of the Middle East, of the market, of the hidden courtyard, the colors that appear in the textiles he paints and burns and cuts to appear as if they are temple screens. ... life in Iraq until he and his family escaped in 1991." "... at Robischon Gallery, surrounded by 'Passage to Sumer,' an installation of fiber panels (he calls them 'soul layers'), a gleaming alcove that suggests a temple where young women enter as mortals and leave as goddesses, and a 30-foot-long clay 'ship' cut-out for which he borrowed from the basic home-building technology of Iraq by using clay, fiber and dried grass for strength. It is a ship out of Gilgamesh, ..." "There are different ways to survive. My way was through dreams, to go back in Iraqi history and Sumerian history. I didn't want to let them destroy my humanity.'"

    Photo: "A 30-foot-long clay boat cut-out, made of clay, fiber and dried grass, is one of the features of 'Passage to Sumer.'"

  • S. Nicholson, "Iraq Museum director: Stolen art funds terrorism," in The Daily Texan (Texas), June 24, 2005: "'Rich people are buying stolen material,' museum director Donny George told reporters. 'Money is going to Iraq, and they <terror groups> are buying weapons and ammunition to use against Iraqi police and American forces,' he said. Police in the United States are doing an 'excellent' job of curbing the flow of stolen artifacts there, but 'a lot of material is just penetrating the country,' George said. 'A lot of these objects are actually going to the United States.' ... Iraqi Culture Minister Nouri Farhan al-Rawi, also speaking at the news conference, noted: 'There was a great deal of looting when coalition forces arrived. Today, coalition forces are helping us a lot, and there are no more cases of looting or theft [in Baghdad].' ... It is impossible to assess the scale of theft or damage at archaeological sites outside Baghdad, said a committee of experts gathered at UNESCO, the Paris-based U.N. cultural agency. Farhan al-Rawi urged UNESCO to help the Iraqi government transform 170 buildings - including Saddam's former palaces and other government buildings - into cultural centers, public libraries and tourist centers. ... The committee praised efforts by several countries holding Iraqi treasures for safekeeping, including Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Italy, Saudi Arabia and the United States. But it said more cooperation was needed from Turkey and Iran, which were represented at the meeting." [and their reaction was...???]; "The cultural heritage committee, formed in September 2003, aims to distribute international aid to help protect Iraq's cultural treasures. It has received $3.5 million from direct contributions and $5.5 million from the United Nations, said UNESCO's deputy director-general for culture, Mounir Bouchenaki."

    Photo: "Baghdad museum curator Donny George, right, talks with Iraqi culture Minister Nuri Farhan Al-Rawi after a press conference on the state of Iraq´s cultural heritage, at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on Thursday."

  • "Iraqi Cultural Heritage: UNESCO is thanked for its action by Iraqi Ministers of Culture and of Tourism and Archaeology," in UNESCO (France), online, June 24, 2005: "The Iraqi Minister of Culture, Mr. Nuri Farhan al-Rawi, and the Minister of State for Tourism and Archaeology, Mr. Hashim al-Hashimi, warmly thanked the Director-General of UNESCO ... during a meeting held on the fringe of the second gathering of the International Committee to Safeguard the Cultural Heritage of Iraq* (ICC)." "The Director-General announced that the designated Director of the Baghdad office was on the point of leaving for Amman. He will exercise his functions from there, with the specialists who constitute his team, until he can go to Iraq. Mr. Matsuura reiterated his intention of dispatching a third experts’ mission on site to launch new initiatives." "During the meeting, also attended by Mr. Muhyi K. Alkateeb, Permanent Delegate of Iraq to UNESCO and by the Director of the Baghdad Museum, ... "

    Photo: [no caption; from left to right: al-Rawi, Matsuura, al-Hashimi]

  • Ch. Onians, "Mystery shrouds Iraq's missing artefacts," in The Lab (ABC; Australia), online, June 23, 2005

    Photo: "Jordan, which shares a large border with Iraq, has seized 1347 looted Iraqi antiquities like these since the war (Image: Reuters/Ali Jarekji)"

  • "Reconstruction of Iraqi institutions: Two international meetings," in UNESCO (France), online, June 23, 2005: "From 22 to 24 June, at UNESCO Headquarters, the second meeting of the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Iraq (ICC) is taking place. The Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, opened this second meeting of the ICC on Wednesday 21 June 2005 in the presence of the Iraqi Minister of Culture, Nuri Farhan al-Rawi, the Minister of State for Tourism and Antiquities, Hashim al-Hashimi, and numerous international experts." "... with the aim of coordinating international aid destined for cultural heritage and all activities towards the protection of that heritage, as well as to elaborate an implementation plan that is in line with the most stringent international norms in this area. UNESCO’s areas of priority action remain the fight against illicit trafficking in cultural property, the training of art professionals, the protection of archaeological sites, the rehabilitation of historic buildings, and the prevention of illicit excavation and pillaging. ... Mr Matsuura ... expressed his satisfaction with the contributions already made by the Organization’s Member States for the implementation of projects on the ground. Financial contributions*, as well as technical assistance**, ... * Financial contributions have been made by the Governments of Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Flanders, Norway, Turkey, the Czech Republic and Lithuania[;] ** Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Jordan, Egypt, Spain and Switzerland" "... a comprehensive programme was approved in May 2004 in the framework of the UNDG [UN Development Group] funds-in-trust. These contributions of UNDG and other funds-in-trust enabled UNESCO to be very active in Iraq and to implement activities, to a value of US$ 8 million, over the last two years despite the difficult conditions on the ground."

Photo: [no caption; from left to right: al-Rawi, Matsuura]
  • J. Menendez, "Iraq's treasures still being looted," in BBC News (UK), June 21, 2005: "'What happened at the museum shouldn't have happened. But in terms of what was taken, we knew where it came from. We have photographs. What's coming out of here, we haven't the faintest idea what it is.' Professor Stone has been studying new satellite images which show hundreds of neatly-arranged holes where sites have been dug up. 'We can tell the difference between the areas they're really targeting and the areas they're probing,' she says. 'We can really make a distinction between different types of looting.'" "[Dr. Donny George] says unscrupulous private collectors are the real culprits for what is happening to Iraq's archaeological sites. ... 'We know there are people sitting in Saudi Arabia and in Jordan, asking for specific material from specific sites.' But tracking down these pieces is not easy. Some national police forces, as well as Interpol, keep a database of the most important missing artefacts and in many countries it is now illegal to trade in antiquities from Iraq. That has had some success. But Professor Stone believes it has also driven the trade underground and made it more difficult to detect. ... Unesco ... is reviewing its work on stopping the trade at a conference this week. But it has its work cut out. Resources are limited. The security situation in Iraq shows little sign of improving. And the thieves and smugglers are more organised than ever."

    Photo: "Satellite photos show the extent of damage caused by looting"

  • B. Schoetzau, "World Monument Fund Names All of Iraq as an Endangered Cultural Site," in Voice of America News, with online audio, June 21, 2005: "The preservation group says every significant cultural site in Iraq is at risk today and there are no ways to effectively mobilize protection. As a result, World Monument Fund president Bonnie Burnham says the group decided that listing the entire nation seemed a reasonable response. ... 'Looting at the archeological sites around the country, direct conflict as with the minaret of Samara that was bombed because of snipers using the site, recovery from years of isolation and jeopardy for the monuments and sites such as Babylon, which has also been occupied recently by military forces and looting of the monumental remains at Nineveh, the great Assyrian capital.'"

    Photo: "[Former Minister of Culture] Mufeed Muhammad Jawad Al Jazairee holds the 'Warka Mask,' a 3100 BC Sumerian artifact which was looted from the Iraq national Museum in the final days of Saddam Hussein's regime (later returned by police)"

  • Photo: "Sun Jun 19, 5:49 PM ET - An undated picture shows Italian carbinieri near recovered artifacts in southern Iraq. Archaeological sites in southern Iraq have been systematically looted for over two years, but experts say the dig will have to go much deeper to find out where thousands of lost artefacts have ended up. (AFP/File/Abdal Amir Hamdani)" [Yahoo! News Photos; 2005]

  • Photo: "Sun Jun 19, 5:49 PM ET - An undated picture shows arrested Iraqi artifact looters standing in front of an Italian armored vehicle in southern Iraq. Archaeological sites in southern Iraq have been systematically looted for over two years, but experts say the dig will have to go much deeper to find out where thousands of lost artifacts have ended up. (AFP/File/Abdal Amir Hamdani)" [Yahoo! News Photos; 2005]

This site is edited by Belgian archaeologist Francis Deblauwe, Ph.D., living in Streamwood, Illinois (USA), who is affiliated with Archaeos, Inc., and a research associate of the University of Vienna (Austria).