I have to blog about this one, because when Mr. C.S. sent this article to me, his accompanying email included the cryptic one line addition, "So, who is really behind this...?" I had to admit, as I read the article and reflected on his question, that the more I thought, the murkier and wilder my high octane speculations became, for inevitably implied in the question of "who is really behind this?" is the question "why are they doing it?"
These questions are highlighted even more by the appearance of a number of articles on the internet lately detailing cases of alleged sale of antiquities on the black market by the very same Islamicist groups, sales which, so the story goes, are being used to finance their "activities." It is a case, we are told, of antiquities being held hostage, and ransomed for further financing of their "activities."
That, anyway, is the public narrative. But I suspect much deeper players and agendas. But we'll get back to those really high octane speculations in a presently. For the moment, here's the article:
Here's the crux of the article:
A new video making the rounds of Islamic State social media forums allegedly shows operatives of the terror state blowing up a 2,500-year-old temple to Nabu, the Babylonian god of wisdom, along with other historic sites near the captive Iraqi city of Mosul. The video ends with a threat to give the legendary pyramids of Egypt the same treatment.
Vocativ describes the ten-minute video as showing the demolition of the temple to Nabu, using powerful explosives. Nabu was one of the gods in the Babylonian civilization, which was a regional power from roughly 4,000 years ago to roughly 2,500 years ago. The video also depicts the bulldozing of the ancient gates of Adad and Mashki at Nineveh.
According to Vocativ, the video concludes with footage of the Great Pyramid of Giza, which an Islamic State jihadi promises to “demolish with the help of [Allah] God” because the pyramids are “ancient sites built by infidels.”
And then we get this predictable "spin" from Breitbart:
ISIS says their destructive practice is tangible evidence of Islam’s earthly supremacy over other belief systems. That’s straight out of the Koran, which warns Muslims that “systems have passed away before you … [so] travel in the land and see the nature of the consequence for those who did deny” Islam’s supposed truth
Well, to a certain extent, this is true. One can read, for example, in the letters of the seventh century Patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Sophronius, complaints about Islamic desecration and destruction of Christian temples.
But we need to remember an obvious historical fact: Islam did not torch or destroy everything. The pyramids of Egypt are still standing after centuries of Islamic occupation of Egypt. One might argue that destroying them would have been technologically difficult until now, and that indeed the casing stones of the two giant Giza pyramids were indeed removed to build mosques in Cairo and elsewhere, and with their removal, whatever might have been carved on them was lost forever, that is, if one is to believe the statements of Herodotus that there were indeed carvings on the casing stones of the Great PYramid(at least my foggy memory says it was Herodotus). Similarly, Aristotle and Plato were not confined to the flames, but rather, Islam, like the Christian West, attempted its own grand synthesis of theology and philosophy. Scholasticism, in other words, was not an exclusively medieval Christian phenomenon. One need only think of the names Avicenna or Averroes in this regard.
The point is, that the record is mixed, and not one exclusively of Islamic destruction of the monuments of other civilizations.
Which brings is to Mr. C.S.'s question of who is really behind it, and its implied question of why. And here's where we get into some really high octane speculation, for as many stories and articles on ISIS have noted, this is as much a creation of aspects of the American intelligence community as it is of radical Islam. It is, so to speak, part of the pattern of the weaponization of radical Islam that has been seen since World War One. In other words, the ultimate "who" here lies in the West, and in those elements within the German and British(later American) deep states that were "weaponizing Islam" for their own political purposes in the First World War. And as I and many others have noted, there was something of an "antiquities" race between the U.K. and Prussia/Germany throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, a "race" to recover and weaponize antiquities for potential military applications that culminated in Himmler's establishment of the SS Ahnenerbedienst prior to World War Two. Antiquities and esoteric lore were to be studied to see if they contained any potential military applications.
Also lurking in the background here is the Baghdad Museum looting, an event I still find highly problematical notwithstanding American claims to have found and recovered most of the stolen artifacts. Recall that prior to the American intervention in Iraq, Saddam Hussein had teams of French and German archaeologsits digging up the antiquities of ancient Mesopotamia. THis meant not only the temples, but the cuneiform texts. This meant also that the French and German teams had field catalogue reports of what they were finding. Then came the Museum looting, an inside job by any analysis. The story ran initially that AMerican uniformed people were seen entering the museum and removing things. The story was first broken by Der Spiegel. In the aftermath, we were told of the recovery and return to Iraq of missing art treasures, but there has been precious little mention of any stolen or recovered cuneiform tablets. I suspected at the time, and still suspect, that the looting was not an American operation, nor even one of the surviving Baathist elites in Baghdad, but a German one, but that's another long story and argued case.
SImilar stories followed the "Arab spring" in Egypt, of looted and missing artifacts.
So what's the bottom line? Call me crazy, but I suspect there is much more going on here than meets the eye, and I suspect that some of it involves the recovery of knowledge, potentially of very sophisticated technologies, and of its denial to potential enemies. The cover story for the invasion of Iraq was, of course, that we were seeking to deprive Hussein of the development and use of weapons of mass destruction. Most of the world at that time was thinking in terms of atomic, biological, or chemical weapons, and we know what happened: little evidence was found for any of them other than Hussein's use of chemical weapons on the Kurds. But no one was thinking in terms of those ancient weapons of mass destruction, the ME GAL GALS of old Mesopotamian texts, the so-called Tablets of Destinies over which and by means of which so many ancient wars of the Gods were fought. I suspect therefore that we might be looking at an antiquities war of a very different kind, a war to monopolize whatever might be, or has been, found, and to deny its use to the enemy, whoever that might be (though the clues of recent history suggest that "who" in both cases).
See you on the flip side...