The US embassy in Baghdad returns a chess set taken from the former Iraqi dictator to the current Minister of Culture. Photo: US Embassy
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The United States has returned an intricate chess set owned by the former Baathist dictator to Iraq after an investigation some 14 years after the US-led invasion of the country.
"Yesterday the U.S. Embassy met with the Deputy Minister of Culture for Antiquities & Heritage Affairs Qais Rasheed to return an antique chess set, owned by Saddam Hussein, stolen in 2003 and recovered by the FBI," the US Embassy in Baghdad announced on Sunday.
One of the major functions of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is to collect evidence and locate violations of federal laws.
The United States embassy stated it is committed to providing assistance for the return of stolen artifacts.
In the aftermath of the seizures of the presidential palaces in April 2003, many of the palaces were looted.
Photos soon emerged of grandiose items such as cars and gold-plated Kalashnikov rifles and pistols.
Although the embassy did not elaborate on where the chess set was recovered, it is illegal for US soldiers to take property from another government.
"The real stuff has a tendency to go into private collections," Rick Brumby, the historian at the Museum of Military History in Kissimmee, Florida, told Fox News regarding in an interview last year regarding military artifacts. "People get greedy and, if the price is right, they’ll buy it and keep it in their home."
A 2008 investigation by the Smithsonian Magazine found that between April 8 and April 12, thieves had plundered "an estimated 15,000 items, many of them choice antiquities: ritual vessels, heads from sculptures, amulets, Assyrian ivories and more than 5,000 cylinder seals."