In the immediate aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 attempts to loot and damage the Iraq National Museum occurred despite somewhat limited US efforts to protect the museum from overwhelming chaos in Baghdad. In April of 2003 between 10-15,000 items were stolen, including items up to 5,000 years old. It is all the more tragic that pieces originating from the cradle of civilization were indiscriminately taken, damaged, destroyed and sold to the burgeoning black market sale of antiquities and ancient artifacts. In the 12 years since the museum closed, the Iraq Museum has recovered approximately 30 percent of the stolen artifacts. It is hoped that the reopening of the Iraqi Museum will signal not only a new start for Iraq, but a warning sign of the urgent need to protect and preserve pieces of our collective history that are a part of an invaluable collection of the story of mankind.
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The Iraq Museum