ISIL Destroys Nimrud

The gang calling itself the Islamic State has destroyed another historical site.

nimrud-archeological-site

The gang calling itself the Islamic State has destroyed another historical site, the city of Nimrud.

WaPo (“Islamic State ‘bulldozes’ ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud“):

Islamic State jihadists have “bulldozed” and looted the world-famous archeological site of the ancient city of Nimrud in northern Iraq, continuing the destruction of the area’s renowned pre-Islamic cultural heritage, the Iraqi government said.

A statement late Thursday from Iraq’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said the extremist militants “defy the will of the world and the feelings of humanity” with this latest attack, in which the extremists used heavy military vehicles to crush treasured relics from one of ancient Mesopotamia’s greatest cities.

Nimrud, the second capital of the ancient kingdom of Assyria, was built around 1250 B.C. and destroyed in 612 B.C. It became a great regional power, part of the most powerful state at the time, reaching through modern-day Egypt, Turkey and Iran.

Nimrud is located just south of Iraq’s largest city in the north, Mosul, which was captured by Islamic State militants last June.

Last week, a video was released showing apparent Islamic State militants ancient statues and other artifacts at Mosul’s museum. The Mosul attack was described by the United Nations as a war crime.

[…]

The discovery of Nimrud’s royal tombs in the late 1980s has been described as one of the 20th century’s most significant archeological finds. Archeologists Friday compared the assault to a destruction of Rome’s Coliseum in its importance. Nimrud is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Islamic State, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, claim the area’s rich pre-Islamic heritage of ancient shrines and statues represents past idol worship that it views as heretical.

Compared to their mass murder, often in particularly horrific ways, of human beings, this is perhaps the least of ISIL’s savagery. It will perhaps be its legacy, however.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Tillman says:

    Reminds me of the Taliban destroying the Buddhas of Bamiyan. I’ll never understand the reasoning for identifying antiquity as an enemy.

    Hell, if the Mongols had respected the written word a little more, the Library of Baghdad might not have been razed. Imagine what was in that thing.

  2. Franklin says:

    I see they’re continuing to win hearts and minds. This is saddening.

  3. Gustopher says:

    Compared to their mass murder, often in particularly horrific ways, of human beings, this is perhaps the least of ISIL’s savagery.

    I don’t know — It’s pretty easy to make more people, but these artifacts are irreplaceable.

    It’s possible that I am a bIt of a sociopath though, or at least an engineer.

  4. Tyrell says:

    ISIS continues its massacres; this time they are murdering gay people. Now this destruction. It is clear that is time for the civilized countries to unite and destroy ISIS completely. The time for playing around is over.

  5. James P says:
  6. @Tillman:

    I’ll never understand the reasoning for identifying antiquity as an enemy.

    Haven’t you read 1984? Destroying the evidence of the past makes it easier to lie about the state of the present.

  7. CB says:

    Obama’s use of ISIL reveals his true allegiance, and animus towards Israel

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read, and I read A LOT of dumb things.

  8. Hal_10000 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It also means that people aren’t exposed to ideas that inconsistent with your radical ideology. If these maniacs ever were to get power, they would wipe anything “unIslamic” from the history books. They are the equivalent of the radical Maoists, who also wanted to destroy anything inconsistent with Communist ideology, kill anyone who was educated and basically reboot society to a pure Maoist state.

  9. stonetools says:

    @CB:

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read, and I read A LOT of dumb things.

    Sigh- just wait till the next James P post . He’s got a million of them, apparently. Guy makes Jack and Jenos look like geniuses.

  10. Tyrell says:

    @CB: If ISIS gets their way, there will be nothing left of Iraq except dust, rubble, and camel trails. After Iraq, it will be Turkey, then India.

  11. stonetools says:

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

    At least in the poem the destroyers weren’t identified as fanatical barbarians. But this has happened before, and will happen again. Who will desecrate OUR monuments?

  12. @stonetools:

    At least in the poem the destroyers weren’t identified as fanatical barbarians.

    It should be noted the poem was inspired by a crumbled statue of Ramses II at the Karnak temple complex, which fell into that state after Constantius II ordered the closing of all pagan shrines in the Roman empire.

  13. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    @CB: What did you expect. He linked a deranged war criminal and the page of some apocalyptic religious nuts.

  14. munchbox says:

    here’s another one for you…

    http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/ID/716/Hawaii-ldquoIslam-Dayrdquo-secretly-marks-September-11.aspx

    you morons don’t really grasp what is going on do you?

    I like how otb ran so so so many whats BIBI going to do stories… will he speak to congress …nah

    then just like that he speaks basicaly saying the zero is in bed with the islamists …

    AND THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE ONE ARTICLE COVERING IT

    FREAKING AMAZING

  15. humanoid.panda says:
  16. lounsbury says:

    @munchbox: Off your meds mate?

    @Tyrell:
    DAESH is not able to further expand even in Iraq – they’ve already had their one suprise movement through the most permissive territories – the rural / semi-rural / small-city Sunni Arab territories resentful of the Shiite dominated government. They’re an unpleasant kooky cult, blowing up Iraqi history is not going to win them extra friends in Iraq. Odd, their Rightly Guided Caliphs never took such measures… but they’re modern loons.

    This is not a bloody board game, “After Iraq, it will be Turkey, then India” is absurd and ridiculous (then India….).

  17. wr says:

    @Tyrell: Gosh, Tyrell, you’d better go volunteer to fight since you’re the only one who recognizes this existential threat!

  18. wr says:

    @stonetools: “Who will desecrate OUR monuments?”

    The Republicans.

  19. wr says:

    @munchbox: Here’s another one who’s running out to volunteer!

    Oh, wait — you’re not? You insist that we must understake this fight… as long as other people fight it for you, while you stay at home insisting you shouldn’t have to pay any taxes for the war you demanded?

    Now that’s something new and original…

  20. Paul Masters says:

    @James P: Quoting Allen West? Yeah, good luck with that.

  21. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tyrell: The new-and-improved domino theory. ISIS–the unstoppable force that will move from a disfunctional satrappy to conquering Turkey–with one of the largest and strongest standing armies in the ME–and then the second largest nation in the world., Wow! I had no idea…

  22. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @stonetools: We’re fully capable of desecrating our own.