Aired on Baghdad TV on May 4, 2008 : Iraqi Restoration Expert Miqdad Al-Baghdadi Accuses "The Jews" and US Army of Plundering Iraqi Antiquities :
Following is an interview with Iraqi restoration expert Miqdad Al-Baghdadi, which aired on Baghdad TV on May 4, 2008:
Miqdad Al-Baghdadi: Another very dangerous element is Judaism. The Jews look for any historical evidence that will establish their rights in the region. The library uncovered in Assur – the Library of Assurbanipal – which consists of more than 30,000 clay tablets, is called the library of clay tablets, the Library of Assurbanipal. This library has been taken... Not a single tablet has been left in Iraq. The Jews tried to find...
Interviewer: Where has it been taken to?
Miqdad Al-Baghdadi: To Britain.
The Jews are trying to find any trace that they ever existed in this region, but so far, they have been unsuccessful. Even in the studies they are conducting in Jerusalem, and in the Cave of the Patriarchs, they are trying to find any evidence...
Interviewer: To support their claim that they existed in the region.
Miqdad Al-Baghdadi: Yes. Something that would prove that they existed and were people of culture, but every buried document they excavate shows that they have always spread corruption.
Interviewer: This has been their nature throughout the ages.
Miqdad Al-Baghdadi: Exactly.
Interviewer: Let's move to the present, especially after the [U.S.] occupation. I am talking about the great looting and plundering of the Baghdad Museum. Iraq has lost many priceless antiquities. What do you have to say about this?
Miqdad Al-Baghdadi: Mr. Abd Al-Malek, you said: "after the occupation," but the destruction began with the occupation, not after it. It began in the first hours of the occupation.
With my own eyes I saw the doors of the museum being broken down.
I saw some of the museum employees and a large crowd that had gathered. I also saw the American soldiers. This is the historical testimony that I gave the first committee that investigated the looting of the museum.
Interviewer: Where was this committee from?
Miqdad Al-Baghdadi: From the U.N. It consisted of two former ministers, one French and one American. I was the first person they met. They came to my home, through the Iraqi-Italian antiquities institute, with which I was working.
Interviewer: What exactly did you see?
Miqdad Al-Baghdadi: I saw the first tank... The [U.S.] soldiers were gathered with the crowd. They were speaking in Arabic, I swear to you. Their looks indicated that they were from the Middle East. Their looks suggested that they might have been Arabs.
Interviewer: Perhaps they were interpreters, or something?
Miqdad Al-Baghdadi: No, they weren't. They were armed soldiers. The tank turned and aimed at the Museum gate, which had been built to resemble the gates of Babylon or Nineveh, and was decorated with an Assyrian chariot. [The tank] aimed at the museum, and we thought it would open fire on the people gathered there. Instead, it fired at the Assyrian chariot. I think there are still signs of this. There are holes in the Assyrian chariot. This indicates that it was premeditated.
The Assyrian chariot is of great historical significance. It was the Assyrians who discovered the wheel... or rather, invented the wheel. The Assyrian chariot played a major role in the military expansion of the Assyrians. There was Jewish enmity toward the Assyrians. The Assyrians did not attack the Jews, but the Jews in ancient Jerusalem were warmongering and aggressive towards other peoples. The Assyrians came to subdue these [Jews], whose so-called civilization was more like a series of raids and attacks against other peoples, and everybody knows about the Assyrian captivity [of the Jews]. The Iraqi Museum was targeted because it contained all of Iraq's history. Its doors were broken down with... This is what I believe happened because I left the scene, when I heard that the Saddam Arts Center was also being looted. The museum doors were opened – it would have been very hard to break down these doors without heavy ammunition or shells. The museum [doors] were broken down in plain view of the American forces.
Interviewer: So it was the American tank that opened the doors of the museum, in order to let the people enter and plunder the great Iraqi heritage.
Miqdad Al-Baghdadi: That's right.
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