American archaeologist and expert in Middle and Near Eastern antiquities Alexander Nagel presented findings in a workshop organized by UNESCO in late November on a massive US/UAE smuggling operation that has plundered Yemen of over 1 million archaeological artifacts.
Since the civil war broke out in 2014, the UAE has allegedly stolen artifacts in the country and sold them to museums in Saudi Arabia, and the United States, including one piece that fetched $34 million dollars.
According to several Yemen-focused journals, much of this scandal was uncovered by Yemeni Historian Abdullah Mohsen, who claims the UAE exhibits stolen artifacts from Iraq, Syria, and Egypt, as well as Yemen—all four of which coincidently have endured US military aggression at some point this millennium. The stolen property can be seen today at the Louvre-Abu Dhabi.
In his presentation, Nagel said “the smuggling of antiquities from Yemen [passes through] countries such as the UAE and Israel before arriving in the United States,” while also stressing the involvement of “many explorers, academics and diplomats in smuggling antiquities from Yemen”.
Further reporting alleges that much of the smuggling was done by gangs affiliated with Sunni terrorist organizations.
Abdullah Mohsen, Nagel’s co-presenter published in July 4, 2018, regarding one of the stolen pieces, that it was donated with a number of antiquities as a token of friendship to Sir Charles Johnston, the Governor and Commander-In-Chief of Aden and Protectorate of South Arabia during colonial times, by Saleh Hussein al-Hubaili, son of the Emir of Beihan – a colonial emirate of British Southern Arabia in 1963.
He pointed out that the father (Hussein bin Ahmed bin Mohsen al-Hubaili) had sold a collection of golden relics in 1977 to the British Museum.
“Unfortunately all successive governments in Yemen have also taken their share of theft, looting, and smuggling, whether rulers or officials, and especially the UAE,” said Yemeni researcher Hosni al-Sibani
Criteria for Genocide
According to international law, one of the principal characteristics of genocide or ethnic cleansing is a deliberate attempt to wash away or otherwise destroy the cultural history and heritage of a particular people.
Earlier this year, WaL examined whether the Global War on Terror could be defined as a genocide against Muslims, Afghanis, or Iraqis.
The rise of the Islamic State in the Levant culminated in an unquantifiable tragedy in terms of cultural value lost. The ancient Assyrian capitals of Nineveh and Nimrud were destroyed—truly ancient cities that date almost to the earliest awakening of humanity from the Stone Age.
The systematic persecution of all things Yemeni by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the American military-industrial establishment has produced what has often been called the greatest humanitarian disaster of our time by the UN- echoing the words given to the genocide in Rwanda several decades ago.
Along with the largest cholera outbreak on the planet, widespread famine, years of deliberate targeting of medical facilities, infrastructure, means of food production whether that be a grain silo or a shepherd in the field, and water and sewage treatment plants, Nagel and Mohsen have revealed the final piece of the genocidal puzzle – cultural destruction.
“The archaeological missions that came to Yemen looted and stole a lot of antiquities, which led to a rift in Yemeni history and a gap in the chronological history of [Yemen]” said al-Sibani. WaL
PICTURED ABOVE: Nagel presents slides containing images of stolen Yemeni cultural artifacts, including some that fetched millions of dollars at closed-door auctions.