Senachareb Iraq“First the statue of a beloved local poet and the tomb of a great Arab historian fell to the caliphate’s wrecking crews. The world paid little attention.”

Next “the caliphate’s troops “have removed statues of people that the city is really proud of,” said Ismail and archivist living in Mosul.

“The people of Mosul have not reacted,” said Ismail. “They act as if these things are going on in another city, not their own.”

So al-Baghdadi’s men have picked up the pace, attacking and destroying one Shia mosque and shrine after another. Eventually, locals reportedly resisted by surrounding one mosque and throwing rocks, but that was during the day, and the caliphate just brought back the bulldozer during the night.

Then, last week, al-Baghdadi’s men returned to the Mosul Museum. They broke the lock to the storage rooms, and they have occupied the building ever since. “They say they are awaiting instructions from their guide [al-Baghdadi] to destroy these statues,” says Rashid, the National Museum director who is in touch with the local staff. Typically, al-Baghdadi is looking for the moment when he can get the most global attention.


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