Civil society of Development and Freedoms

Expert Exposes Smuggling, Sale of Rare Historical Artifacts: Urgent Call to Action

Yemeni researcher and archaeological expert Abdullah Mohsen has unveiled that the Saudi-backed government is orchestrating the looting and smuggling of Yemen’s precious historical artifacts abroad.

In a Facebook post, Mohsen asserted that this nefarious activity is part of a broader war led by Israel and executed by the Emirati occupation and its proxies. Their target is the historical manuscripts of Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Morocco, aiming to distort history.

Mohsen emphasized that the systematic looting and smuggling of the country’s historical treasures are happening under high-level directives, with authorities turning a blind eye to illicit excavations and smuggling, citing Yemen’s state of war and lack of sufficient financial resources to pursue legal action abroad.

Accompanying his post was an image showing three statues from grave markers, which he stated were smuggled abroad and sold. He highlighted deliberate efforts by the Zionist entity, funded and executed by the UAE, to destroy Yemeni, Iraqi, Syrian, and Moroccan manuscripts, intending to rewrite historical narratives and suppress vital reference materials.

The Yemeni activist and expert urged for a concerted national effort to halt this “perilous chaos” and counter the covert agenda that the community has failed to confront. He called upon research centers to establish a comprehensive database of smuggled manuscripts and raise awareness about the associated dangers.

Since the start of the US-Saudi-Emirati aggression on Yemen in 2015, rare Yemeni historical artifacts have been subjected to theft, looting, and smuggling abroad.

Reports tracking stolen and smuggled Yemeni artifacts revealed that approximately 4,265 Yemeni archaeological pieces were sold in 16 international auctions in the United States and Europe, hosted by renowned international auction houses specializing in antiquities in six Western countries between 1991 and 2022.

In recent years, Yemeni artifacts sold in international auctions reached 2,610 pieces, including 2,167 pieces in the United States, with a total value exceeding 12 million dollars. Currently, 1,384 smuggled and stolen Yemeni artifacts are on display in seven international museums.

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