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Hassan Ammar / AP

In a Sunday deep dive, the Wall Street Journal has traced the path of artifacts looted by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and found parallels with the Nazi art looting some 70 years prior:

"ISIS's territorial grip is fading fast... but the group's legacy of looting will linger for many years, in much the same way that art looted by the Nazis continues to surface 70 years later. The ancient statues, jewelry and artifacts that ISIS has stolen in Syria and Iraq, are already moving underground and may not surface for decades."

The finds: ISIS allows locals to dig for artifacts, and pays them a percentage of what their finds would get on the market, generating $10-100 million annually from the trade.

The trade: After the goods are smuggled out by intermediaries "often blending in with humanitarian convoys and refugees," or "hidden in exports such as cotton, fruit and vegetables," they're sold to middle men like Muhammad hajj Al-Hassan and Omar Al-Jumaa. Both were students before the Syrian civil war broke out and now trade in stolen artifacts. Al-Jumaa said he once bought a Roman statue from a Syrian woman who hid it under her clothing before crossing into Turkey.

The path: Most artifacts go first to Turkey or Lebanon. Next they're typically sent to Eastern Europe or Asia, before being sold to buyers in Western Europe (oftentimes Switzerland or Germany) or the U.S. They often sit in warehouses for years, and ownership histories are fabricated. It could be decades before many of the artifacts are sold publicly.

Go deeper

Exclusive: Texas nonprofit got massive border contract after hiring Biden official

Migrants attempting to enter the United States from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Photo: David Peinado/Xinhua via Getty Images

A Texas nonprofit that recently hired a Biden transition official got a contract worth as much as $530 million to help manage the influx of migrant children at the southern border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The contract is by far the largest ever awarded to Family Endeavors. It's potentially worth more than 12 times the group's most recently reported annual budget — a sign of the demand the new work will place on its operations.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: $1 million ad buy defends Georgia law to business critics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A leading conservative group is targeting the business community with a seven-figure ad buy on CNBC and local TV defending Georgia's new voting law from its corporate critics, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: By focusing on the C-suite through a network it watches, Heritage Action for America is offering a rejoinder to some companies — even Major League Baseball — after they waded so prominently into politics.