The Rewards for Justice program is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the significant disruption of the sale and/or trade of oil and antiquities by, for, on behalf of, or to benefit the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known by its Arabic acronym as DAESH.
Terrorist groups such as ISIL rely on financing and support networks to sustain operations and launch attacks. ISIL’s illicit oil operations and trafficking in looted archaeological material from Syria and Iraq are key sources of revenue, helping the terrorist organization to generate millions of dollars in hard currency and enabling ISIL to carry out its brutal tactics and oppress innocent civilians. ISIL’s damage to and looting of cultural and historical sites in Iraq and Syria have destroyed irreplaceable evidence of ancient life and society.
Ancient and historical coins, jewelry and carved gems, plaques, sculptures, containers, and cuneiform tablets are among the types of Syrian and Iraqi cultural objects that ISIL is seeking. The Emergency Red Lists of Cultural Objects at Risk, developed by the International Council of Museums with support from the U.S. Department of State, provide a comprehensive list of the types of items looted and trafficked from Syria and Iraq and are linked here and here.
With the goal to counter ISIL’s financing, the U.S. Department of State hopes this reward generates information regarding individuals or entities engaged in the production, facilitation, processing, smuggling, distribution, sale, and trade of oil and antiquities that benefit ISIL, as well as information regarding smuggling networks, methods, and routes underlying these activities.