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Collapse and Rebirth of Cultural Heritage

The Case of Syria and Iraq


Edited By Lorenzo Kamel

Cultural heritage and illicit trafficking in the Middle East are two key topics of our time.  The  book  sheds  light  on  both  aspects,  and  identifies  the  need  to  democratize  cultural heritage, by giving greater control to local communities. It also investigates the link between local hotbeds of conflict and violence in countries such as Syria and Iraq,  as  well  as  war  economics,  transnational  criminal  networks  and  the  politics  of  deliberate destruction and theft of cultural heritage. Finally, the chapters analyze the impact  of  non-violent  and  violent  non-state  actors,  fragile  states,  forced  migration,  environmental  degradation,  as  well  as  how  local  and  international  institutions  have  reacted to the dramatic events which the region and its inhabitants have experienced in recent years
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Foreword (Ettore Greco and Nicolò Russo Perez)


Ettore Greco and Nicolò Russo Perez


In the last two decades several countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been ravaged by bloody and protracted armed conflicts that have caused appalling humanitarian crises and widespread destruction of infrastructures and basic public services. Their economies and the entire social fabric have been severely hit. Creating the conditions for recovery from these wide-ranging disruptions remains a daunting challenge, not least because, even in the areas where a degree of stability has been achieved, worrying conflict factors remain at work.

Cultural heritage, which is a vital component of human activity and a strategic resource for economic and social development, has not been spared. Armed hostilities, often conducted with heavy weapons, have destroyed a great number of historical monuments and artefacts. Moreover, many manifestations and symbols of cultural heritage have become the specific target of extremist and terrorist groups inspired by exclusivist or nihilist ideologies. What is at stake now is no less than the preservation of complex cultural identities in a region which has itself been the cradle of civilizations and religions.

This volume, edited by Lorenzo Kamel, examines the economic, social, political and cultural impact of the damage inflicted to the cultural heritage of the Middle East in the course of the recent armed conflicts which have involved both local actors – state and sub-state – and regional and external powers. The volume examines the cases of Iraq and Syria, which have been...

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