Hugh Eakin, writing for the New York Review of Books, criticizes the approach of the US and other governments to cultural destruction in Syria. That approach has focused almost entirely on import restrictions, criminal sanctions and giving millions to archaeological groups to "study" the issue. In contrast, efforts to protect objects on a local level (like an initiative of the University of Pennsylvania and Smithsonian) lack much needed funding.
Meanwhile, the Antiquities Coalition, a well-funded archaeological advocacy group that promotes "public-private partnerships" with authoritarian Middle Eastern governments, has held much ballyhooed conferences in New York and Amman, Jordan, that have advocated just more repression. Should we be surprised?