Robert Seddon of Durham University’s Centre for the Ethics of Cultural Heritage has a general article ('Fuelling the Insurgency?Antiquities in Iraq' August 2014) in an online newsletter belonging to Victvs Ltd (Security risk management consultants).
Fighting needs funds, and there is evidence that ISIS’s funding sources include antiquities trafficking. The trafficking networks, however, were there already. Before ISIS, Al - Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) gained funding from the illicit antiquities trade. Meanwhile, the Mahdi Army reportedly claimed that the trade was moral if the money was spent on guns or building mosques. Iraqi security forces have spent years playing cat and mouse with both paramilitaries and organised criminal groups.