This paper examines the issue of illicit trade in antiquities and its connection to conflict and terrorism financing. The focus is on the Middle East, and particularly Syria and Iraq, as a “source region” of the artifacts, and on the efforts of the United States and the European Union to fight this illicit trade through national initiatives and international cooperation. The paper concentrates on changes in the political response to this problem since 2001, when evidence started accumulating of the importance of the ‘blood antiquities-terrorism’ nexus, which increases the impact of negative externalities of the trade transforming illicit art trafficking into a major threat to international security.(A more detailed version of this paper appears in the following edited volume: Saskia Hufnagel, Michelle Fabiani and Kate Melody Burmon (eds.), Cultural Property Crime and the Law, Routledge, 2022.)
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