Less than a month after Egyptian Antiquities Pharaoh Zahi Hawass suggested on his blog that archaeo-lobbyists of the "Capitol Archaeological Institute" had been given agreement authority by the US State Department to draft a MOU imposing "emergency import restrictions" on Egyptian cultural goods, see
http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2011/05/hawass-says-emergency-import.html, Hawass has blogged that there really is no "emergency" in Egypt after all. See http://www.drhawass.com/blog/can-egypt-protect-its-ancient-monuments
Hawass now states, " I have been distressed by recent reports that exaggerate the damage done to our antiquities...."
And so am I, but for different reasons.
This again just goes to show that archaeologists are simply not credible sources when it comes to reports of looting in countries where the facts are difficult to verify. Archaeologists have previously exaggerated looting in places like Afghanistan and Iraq to justify emergency import restrictions. Here, they have apparently done so again-- this despite Minister Hawass' own view that the situation is under control.
Emergency import restrictions are unnecessary here. Egyptian and US authorities are well able to interdict looted artifacts.
But archaeological fanatics want more: they see import restrictions as a way to drive unprovenanced artifacts off the market in the United States, at least.
And ginning up an "emergency" is their best way to assist their cronies in the State Department's Cultural Heritage Center to get the job done. Based on their exaggerations, yet another collecting area will likely become off limits to all those but the wealthy who can afford to purchase the limited number of artifacts with detailed collecting histories.