The Iraqi ancient civilization is experiencing times of great uncertainty due to the recent stormy winds blowing all over the Country.

If the news, recently spread by the main international media, were further confirmed, some relevant archaeological sites may have been severely damaged. At the heart of concerns is the future of some precious finds, like the sculptures of the archaeological museum in Mosul, capital of Nineveh province, plundered by jihadists according to some video witnesses. While somebody proclaims false words, the global public opinion feels is the ongoing worry for the survival of great monuments.

Current news and international reactions
UNESCO has raised its voice against those ones accused of destroying ‘cultural heritage’ of the Country and complaints have become increasingly stronger with the evolution of the events. Among the possible victims, there is also the Assyrian city of Nimrud and the ancient fortified city of Hatra. Storm-clouds are gathering over the future of this Country, despite the Emergency Response Action Plan (ERAP), launched in the second half of 2014 to safeguard the artistic heritage of Iraq.

Hatra U.S. Army photo by Spc. Gregory Gieske

Hatra U.S. Army photo by Spc. Gregory Gieske

There’s the huge need to preserve this heritage being threatened and find out even more protective measures. That’s what Irina Bokova the current Director-General of of UNESCO has done, she has asked the President of the Security Council of the United Nations to develop international defence strategies to protect what still remains unspoiled and stop widespread looting. The joint intervention with the French President Hollande, launched in March 18 by the symbolic frame of Louvre in Paris, as the attack of the Bardo Museum in Tunis took place also, goes in the same direction. The condemnation of UNESCO joins the ISESCO (Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) led by Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri. The echo of indignation has spread throughout the world as evidenced by the fatwa of Egyptian Islamic Institute Al-Azhar referring to the ancient objects says that “they have a major historical and cultural implication.”

The world heritage is in danger
What are the emergency tools? The agreement, regulating the protection of world heritages identifies 14 types of threats and, in the event that one of this is involved in a serious and direct danger, the World Heritage Committee may decide to register it within the list of the World Heritage in danger (according to ‘Article 11 (paragraph 4) which gather those archaeological sites and beauties exposed to a very significant risk as considered by UNESCO. These are places of global relevance, on which weighs a sword of Damocles, represented in the case of Iraq that agreed to the Convention in 1974, by crucial worries of social and political nature. Of the four Iraqi sites included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage, only two of them are now considered as ‘heritage in danger’: Ashur (Qal’atSherqat) and city of Samarra, whose fate is hanging by a thread.

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Ma Boîte à Image, ANTIQ 015, Mesopotamia , Assyria , Nimrud , palace of Assurnazirpal II – Genius in front of the sacred tree.
United States Forces, Time Travelers U.S. 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers tour Al Hatra, an ancient city located southwest of Mosul in the Al-Jazarah region of Iraq, Sept 18, 2010. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Gregory Gieske.

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