Yemen is exposed to organized crimes targeting its rare historical antiquities and manuscripts through looting and smuggling by the Saudi-led coalition that has been waging war on Yemen since March 2015, in addition to the crimes of targeting and destroying archaeological sites by air strikes.
Informed sources revealed that the leakage of Yemeni antiquities has been active since 2011 and increased in 2015 with the beginning of the war on Yemen through the coalition countries that unleashed their tools and agents to steal artifacts through an organized mafia to smuggle and sell them outside Yemen.
The sources confirmed that the American auctions topped the list of “exhibitions” for selling looted Yemeni antiquities in recent years, in light of accusations against the coalition and the “government” loyal to it of standing behind networks of looting and smuggling of the history and heritage of Yemen.
According to the latest statistics the Hoopoes Center for Archaeological Studies revealed in a report issued in November last year, the number of Yemeni artifacts exhibited and sold during the war on Yemen amounted to 2,610 artifacts during the period between 2015 and 2022.
America ranked first in displaying and selling looted Yemeni antiquities with 2167 artifacts, then the Netherlands second with 972 pieces, thirdly the Zionist entity with 501 pieces, followed by Britain in fourth place with 421 pieces, while France came fifth with 135 pieces, and finally Germany with 69 pieces in sixth place, according to the report.
The center announced the inventory and documentation of 4,265 smuggled artifacts, which were displayed in online auctions in six countries, including America (5 auctions), followed by Britain (4 auctions), France (3 auctions), the Zionist entity (2 auctions), and finally Germany and the Netherlands (an auction each).
The center noted that among the pieces monitored by the report were a manuscript dating back to the fifteenth century AD, which was sold by Sotheby’s auction for $845,000, and a bronze statue dating back to the period between the first century BC and the first century AD, which was sold at Christie’s auction for $576,000, in addition to an alabaster stone statue dating back to the third century BC and the first century AD, which was sold for 499,000 pounds sterling through a Sotheby’s auction.
The “Antiquities Alliance” issued in 2018, a list containing records of “1,631” pieces that were looted from the National Museum of Aden, the National Museum of Taiz, and the National Museum in Zinjbar, while the list of Yemen’s looted antiquities issued by the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums in Sanaa in 2022 contained 507 looted and smuggled artifacts from Yemen, according to the center’s report.
According to experts and observers of Yemen’s looted antiquities, the UAE plays a major role alongside Saudi Arabia in looting Yemeni antiquities, presenting them in poor plays as Emirati artifacts, which formed a passage for smuggling stolen Yemeni antiquities to deliver them to the Zionist enemy.
Social media is currently witnessing a wide media campaign led by activists against the UAE under the hashtag #UAE_steals_Yemeni_antiquities.
The campaign, which sheds light on the looting and theft of Yemeni antiquities, shows scenes and pictures documenting the UAE’s provision of Yemeni antiquities displayed in a store for sale in the UAE. Activists are calling for restoring those antiquities and criminalizing all smuggling gangs in a Yemeni awakening in defense of ancient Yemeni antiquities.