Alex Joffe in Jewish Ideas Daily describes the situation of the archive discovered in 2003 by American troops in a building of the Iraqi secret police:
The earliest item dates to 1568, but most of the other materials are from the late-19th and early-20th centuries.Judeo-Arabic manuscripts, Torah scrolls and mantles, children's primers, family photographs, letters, all seized from Iraq's long-banished Jews. Through a confluence of initiatives involving the U.S. military, the Iraqi opposition, the Coalition Provisional Authority, and the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, the trove was transported to the U.S. where it was freeze-dried, conserved, and photographed. It remains in the charge of the National Archives and Records Administration and the Center for Jewish History.Representatives of the Iraqi Jewish community in Israel have staked a claim to the trove. But so, for its part, has Iraq itself, whose new Minister of Tourism and Antiquities has named the return of the archive as a top priority.After recounting the history of Jewish persecution in Iraq, Joffe asks: "By what right should a society that barely tolerated and then expelled its Jews, and that loathes and forbids the presence of Jews now, be given 27 cases of Jewish documents and books?" He suggests: "International refugee law provides for 'non-refoulment': that is, refugees must not be returned to a situation where they would be put in jeopardy. Might a similar principle be considered for antiquities?"