Moreover, in the past years, the destruction of cultural heritage has been used by extremist movements as a weapon in their struggle with the West.The threat to cultural heritage has given rise to a completely new phenomenon in the societies of the countries of the Middle East and North Africa: it has raised awareness on the cultural and economic value of heritage.
This resulted in the emergence of several civil society organizations that have taken the form of NGOs or institutions dedicated to promoting cultural heritage protection and spreading the values it represents. This phenomenon is particularly noteworthy in countries where heritage has suffered from destruction and damage, such as Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya. The international community has responded swiftly by condemning the damage to heritage, but its practical response has been limited. International assistance was channelled through UNESCO and its cooperation with the authorities responsible for heritage management. However, civil society and local communities were left out of this process, which could have played an essential role in preserving and rebuilding the damaged cultural heritage.