chapter  4
21 Pages

Murder in Mesopotamia

Agatha Christie’s Life and Work in the Middle East
ByNadia Atia

On 9th April 2003, the world’s news cameras relayed images of smiling Allied troops standing by as jubilant Iraqi crowds pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad. 1 What is perhaps less well remembered now, though it briefly outraged the world, is that between 8th and 16th April, as Saddam Hussein fell from power, the Iraq Museum’s priceless artefacts, a unique collection of Mesopotamian archaeological treasures, left entirely unguarded by Allied troops, were looted. 2 As Lawrence Rothfield has noted, this is particularly ironic, given that during the first Gulf War:

[E]ven Saddam, on the first day of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 had posted guards in front of the Kuwait National Museum to prevent looting. Yet somehow the United States and its allies had failed to take similar steps. 3