Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Iraqi prime minister is a thief

More than 600 looted artifacts that were retrieved by the United States, shipped back to Iraq, then mysteriously lost have been found in the prime minister's warehouse alongside boxes of kitchen supplies, the Iraqi tourism minister said Monday.

The ancient pieces — including clay pots, a bronze Sumerian figurine and stone tablets etched with cuneiform writing — were returned to the Iraqi National Museum, resolving a real-life caper that began when many items were stolen from a museum in the northern city of Kirkuk in 1991.

U.S. authorities had recovered the pieces over several years, some of which had been put up for auction. In December 2008, Gen. David Petraeus, then the commander of American forces in Iraq, had arranged to have them transported to Iraq, which had seen tens of thousands of artifacts from one of the world's most ancient civilizations plundered during the 1990s and after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The U.S. military delivered the pieces, packed in about a dozen boxes, to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office, American and Iraqi officials said. Somehow, the boxes were sent to al-Maliki's official storage facility, where they sat for nearly two years, apparently forgotten.

"Somehow" "the boxes were sent to al-Maliki's official storage facility"?

Not "somehow". Obviously, they were stolen. And, when al-Maliki left office, they were leaving with him.

Think of how many American boys and girls were killed in action in Iraq while hunting down and retrieving these artifacts, only to have them stolen by the Iraqi prime minister.

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