The Iraqi antiquities ministry has acknowledged reports of a new attack by Islamic State militants on an ancient Assyrian city north-east of Mosul, reiterated calls for the international community to intervene and condemned the jihadi group for “erasing the history of humanity”.And some analysis by Aziz Abu Sarah in Haaretz: Why is ISIS destroying Iraq's historical heritage? No ethnic cleansing is complete without the removal of the historical roots from which a people emerged. In order to dictate the future, ISIS is destroying the past. Excerpt:
There have been reports that Isis bulldozed landmarks in the ancient city of Dur Sharrukin, now called Khorsabad. The ministry said it was in keeping with the militant group’s “criminal ideology and persistence in destroying and stealing Iraq’s antiquities”.
Dur Sharrukin is a former capital of the Assyrian empire in Nineveh that dates back to the 8th century BC.
Yet, for ISIS, destroying Assyrian archaeology represents more than an attack on idolatry. In order to remain the only ruling religious body in Iraq and Syria, ISIS is going beyond ethnically and religiously cleansing the population to erasing any historical traces of the displaced people.Background here and links.
The archaeological sites it destroys are from the Babylonian, Persian and Roman Empires. These eras represent a pluralistic past that legitimizes the presence of Chaldeans, Yazidis and other minorities in the region, with whom ISIS does not share a human heritage. ISIS' interpretation of history maintains that there are two historical eras: Jahiliyah (the time of ignorance) and, the later era, Islam (the time of enlightenment). The presence of sites from the Babylonian, Persian and Roman Empires harks back to a golden age before Islam. ISIS is thus working to erase any trace of those eras, for it thinks it cannot control the future until it controls the past.
What ISIS is doing is not a new strategy; conquering dynasties throughout history have employed similar tactics. ...