U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield

Soldiers guard the main entrance of the National Museum in Baghdad - June 2003


Armed Conflicts



The U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield extends its sympathy to those who have lost family and friends, as well as witnessed the destruction of their cultural heritage during the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Recently we have refrained from publicizing accounts of these events since we believe that doing so simply provides encouragement to the perpetrators of these despicable deeds while doing nothing to bring them to a halt.


ISIS militants are reported to have destroyed the shrine of the Prophet Younis (Jonah) east of the city of Mosul in July 2014. Jonah is believed to be buried in Mosul and his tomb, which is also a mosque, is considered to be one of the few historic mosques on the eastern side of the city.

U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield Statement on Iraq.
17 June 2014



Ancient History, Modern Destruction: Assessing the Current Status of Syria’s World Heritage Sites Using High-Resolution Satellite Imagery. 18 September 2014.  A report on this project was presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of USCBS.


U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield letter to President Obama regarding the protection of Syria’s cultural heritage.
10 September 2013


U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield Press Release on Syrian Heritage. 24 August 2012


Blue Shield Second statement on Syria. 7 April 2012


Blue Shield statement on Syria. 17 May 2011


During the 2011 Libyan Revolution a number of archaeological and cultural heritage sites suffered from looting. Most noteworthy was the theft of the Benghazi Treasure, a collection of 7700 gold, silver and bronze coins, jewelry and statuettes, from the main branch of Libya's commercial bank in Benghazi.

For reports of the joint Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield (ANCBS) and International Military Cultural Resources Work Group (IMCuRWG) Mission to Libya, with links to photo documentation see:




"Civil-Military Assessment Mission for Libyan Heritage by Blue Shield and IMCuRWG, September 28 to 30, 2011"

"2nd Civil-Military Assessment Mission for Libyan Heritage, November 12 to 16, 2011"

USCBS statement on Libya. "Protection of Important Libyan (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) Cultural Heritage Sites." 21 March 2011

Blue Shield statement on Libya. 14 March 2011


Statement on Current Affairs in Egypt.
6 February 2014

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova calls for mobilization of experts and civil society partners to safeguard heritage in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya during the Arab Spring. The call for action was made at an emergency meeting of expert groups and individuals working in this domain, which was held at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters on the evening of 15 March 2011.
UNESCO mobilizes experts and civil society partners to safeguard heritage in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya »


Karl von Habsburg, President of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield and member of Blue Shield Austria, was a member of an assessment mission to Egypt. Read the report and view photos:


"Civil-Military Assessment Mission for Egyptian Heritage." 12–16 February 2011

U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield and other organizations warn of emergency in Egypt. 8 February 2011

Blue Shield statement on Egypt. 31 January 2011




At left is a manuscript in the Ahmed Baba Institute, the most important of more than 20 libraries in Timbuktu.

Information on the state of preservation of the majority of the Timbuktu manuscripts »

Malian and international experts completed the first assessment of damage to cultural heritage in Gao, following the occupation by armed groups of parts of northern Mali. Their work addressed both sites and cultural practices of local people.


“First mission to Gao since end of military occupation of northern Mali takes stock of serious damage to the city’s cultural heritage,” with photo gallery. 13 February 2014

“Mission to Mali”

In January 2014,  a small Blue Shield team, including ANCBS president Karl von Habsburg, went to Mali for a week-long mission to evaluate the current situation of Cultural Heritage (including monuments, archaeological and historical sites and archives) in Northern Mali after the recent armed conflict.

More information »


"Mission Report. Civil-Military Assessment Mission for Malian Heritage". 13-19 January 2014.

"UNESCO: Warns Heritage Sites in Mali, Arab World at Risk." May 19, 2012

More information »

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