Skip to content

AFP: Iraq cuts US archaeology cooperation over archives

June 27, 2012

Iraqi Tourism and Archaeology Minister Liwaa Smaisim speaks during an interview with AFP at his office in Baghdad (AFP, Sabah Arar)

The residue of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq continues to create problems for the archaeological community. According the Agence France Presse:

Iraq has cut cooperation with the United States on archaeological exploration because Washington has not returned Iraq’s Jewish archives, Tourism and Archaeology Minister Liwaa Smaisim has told AFP.

The fate of the archives, which were removed from Iraq following the 2003 US-led invasion, is a long-running point of contention between Washington and Baghdad, which has for years sought their return.

Smaisim, a member of powerful anti-US Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s movement, said in an interview with AFP that Iraq will use “all the means” to pursue the return of the archives.

“One of the means of pressure that I used against the American side is I stopped dealing with the American (archaeological) exploration missions because of the case of the Jewish archives and the antiquities that are in the United States,” Smaisim said.

“The American side made many moves and pressure (for Iraq) to resume work with them but this is a final decision,” he added.

The culture ministry says that millions of documents including the Jewish archives were transferred to the United States.

Seventy percent of the Jewish archives are Hebrew-language documents, with another 25 percent in Arabic and five percent in other languages, according to the ministry.

The archives, which were found in the flooded basement of the intelligence headquarters in Baghdad in 2003, include Torah scrolls, Jewish law and children’s books, Arabic-language documents produced for Iraqi Jews and government reports about the Jewish community.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: