A part of Iraq that will never be rebuilt

According to a report in The Observer yesterday (US army was told to protect looted museum), Iraq’s national museum was identified last month by the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) (the institution set up to supervise the reconstruction of postwar Iraq) as a ‘prime target for looters’.

A leaked document, the main source of information for the report, reveals that the securing of the museum by Coalition forces was listed as the second top priority after the national bank. In response to criticism that it did too little to prevent the looting of priceless artefacts from the museum, the US military argues that its primary job in the first few days was to quell armed resistance in Baghdad, and that it could not tackle looters until it had finished fighting a war. Strangely, Coalition forces were able to secure the Oil Ministry, listed as no. 16 on OHRA’s list of 16.