An exchange of arms and art is shown by a new reportage of Domenico Quirico, and was published today in La Stampa (so far available only in Italian). D. Quirico describes the allegedly close connections between ISIS and the ‘ndrangheta in Calabria/Italy, and how the port of Gioia Taura acts as a hub for archaeological finds stolen by ISIS in Libya, and in the Near East in general, and how these finds are exchanged with arms. The weapons – Kalashnikovs and others – derive from Moldova, Ukraine, and other Eastern European countries, and arrive at the port. Mediators and sellers are from the ‘ndrangheta family of Lamezia, and the camorra. The transport is guaranteed by Chinese criminals with ships and containers.
According to the report, recently (or more precisely, until the USA noted that the money from selling antiquities was used to buy arms), the main clientele were Americans, private persons, and museums. Now most of the buyers come from Russia, China, Japan, and the Emirates.
The journalist discusses his reportage with two known figures in the field: Shawn Winter, US military, and Mario Scaramella, who point to strong connections between this trade of antiquities and the Russians. There is further evidence that Chechens and Usbeks have been trained by Russians to command jihad formations.
It remains to note that the connection between Italian criminal organisations and ISIS has been suggested before (as described for instance here – in English) – it’s only that now also antiquities are at the centre of attention.