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A decade on from the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and whipped up a tsunami of theft in Baghdad, Iraq's National Museum is preparing to display its treasures of Mesopotamian culture – even if thousands are missing.The looting of the museum under the eyes of U.S. troops has sometimes been compared to the Mongol sack of the Grand Library of Baghdad in 1258 . But if many Iraqis still see the museum's looting as a symbol of the cavalier recklessness of the invasion, its current state is emblematic of the bloodshed, political discord and bureaucratic dysfunction that have racked Iraq ever since. The plundering of the museum, whose collection comprises artifacts from over 5,000 years of Mesopotamian history, was one of the most sensational episodes in the immediate aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.The museum boasts an impressive array of statues, mosaics and bas-reliefs of empires from the Sumerians to the Ottomans.The museum is about as old as modern Iraq.Overall, about 15,000 pieces were stolen from the museum during the invasion.The plundering of Iraq's antiquities predates the U.S. invasion by decades and has continued since U.S. troops left.
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