ISIS (The Islamic State Of Iraq And Syria) Has Become a Key Political and Military Actor in the Middle East And In North Africa . However The Group’s Momentum has slowed over the Past Years, and it Has Lost its Hold in Syria and in Iraq. In Spite of this, since 2013 It has Conquered, Controlled, and Ruled Vast Areas of Syria and Iraq, And Cities and Villages In Libya. It operates in Sinai and Has Carried out Attacks around Europe. Most Important the Group has Been Forced out of Key Cities and Areas, Such as Mosul, Palmira, and Raqqa. These Defeats Were Crucial for the Militias Both Because Mosul and Raqqa Represented Strong Propaganda Tools Linked to the Strategic Idea of “Remaining and Expanding” and because those Areas were of Strategic importance due to their Economic Relevance.
ISIS Economy was based on Several Revenues Such as Kidnapping, Taxation of Resident, Criminal Activities, Zakat (That is extracted from Annual Savings or Capital Assets, Gold, Livestock), and the Imposition of Annual Taxes on Non-Muslims Living in its Territories, Especially Christians, Confiscation of the Properties of Displaced or Wanted Individuals, and Donations from Foreign Donors. However the Most Important Were: Selling of Oil and Artefacts.
According to Weiss & Hassan  Oil was a Major Revenue Generator for ISIS at Least Until the Coalition Air Strikes Began (August 2014). It Is Very Difficult to Have Reliable Data, But it is Believed that ISIS Earned Millions of Dollars a Month (Approximately $1 To 2 Million a Day) from Oil in Syria Province of Deir Er Zor and Iraq. Although The Revenue Dropped Significantly Due to the American Air Strikes that Targeted Before ISIS In Iraq and then the Group in its Strongholds in Syria (September 2014), Oil Smuggling To Neighbouring Countries Such as Turkey and Jordan has Continued Making Significant Revenue For ISIS. Nevertheless for the Purposes of this Paper ISIS’ Trafficking of Looted Antiquities is More Important. The Trade in Items Stolen from Iraq and Syria’s Historical Sites (Mainly Mosul Museum and
its Archaeological Sites and Palmira) Generated Revenue around $100 Million. But how it was Possible?
For a long time, it was assumed that once you reach adulthood, these stages of development would stop. Today it is generally accepted that developmental stages continue into adulthood. Thus, adulthood is not a destination you reach at some point and then you are done, as it used to be believed. It is a never-ending transitioning process to higher stages of development. Whereas children move smoothly and rapidly through the stages, an adult’s pace of development is not as predictable and it can slow down dramatically, to the point of plateauing. In addition, while
a child’s development appears to happen automatically, so you are in your terrible twos or in your sweet sixteen, adults cannot simply sit back and wait until they turn thirty to reach a new level of development; they need to work to keep growing. Graves (2005: 29) puts it this way:
First of all we need to understand what ISIS was/is: it is a Propaganda Machine. Not only ISIS has Been Able to Produce Hundreds of Propaganda Videos, but it was Able to Spread Them Worldwide Using Social Media Such As Twitter, Face book, YouTube, Telegram and so on. In 2015 the Group Started to Broadcast A Series of Video in Which Several Militiamen were Destroying Cases in the Mosul Museum, Statues, Sculptures And Buildings in Palmira. These Videos Should be Understood in two Different Way. First, They Were Propaganda Tool Aiming at Publicizing to Possible Future Member the Idea that ISIS had a Very Strict Interpretation of Quran and Sharia and Consequently it was a True salafist Movement That Was Building A True And Pure Islamic State Destroying the Old and Un-Islamic Heritage. Yet, the True Message of Those Videos Was Another, I.E. Showing to Western Collectors That ISIS Had Available Several Artefacts of Different Kind that Could Be Sell And Bought. As a Consequence not only ISIS Plundered Museums And Archaeological Sites, But It Also Gave Locals Special Licenses to Dig for Antiquities In order to Increase this Market.
Unfortunately it is Very Difficult to Have Information About this Traffic but Sometimes on National and International Newspaper Some News Emerges. For Example, on 21st May 2018 Italian Carabinieri have Seized a Container in Salerno  in Which they Found Several Artefacts Among Which an Egyptian Gold Mask, A Sarcophagus and the “Boat of the Dead”, Which Represents the Most Valuable Piece in Terms of Value. The Artistic Heritage Came from Alexandria, Egypt, and Travelled Within a Container on a Diplomatic Load. However, this is Just the Last Example of the ISIS Trade of Archaeological Artefacts. For Instance, on 28th March 2018 Spanish Police Arrested in Barcelona two Men for their Participation in The Crimes of Financing Terrorism throughout the Smuggling of Pieces of Art Looted by Groups Affiliated with ISIS from Sites in Libya.
Police Recovered Artworks Including Sculptures, Mosaics and
Sarcophagi and traced their origin to the apollonia and Cyrene
Archaeological Sites in Northern Libya . On 3rd July 2015
Mark altaweel from the UCL Institute of Archaeology Uncovered
Objects (Pieces of Early Glass; a Tiny Statue; Some Fragments
Of Bone Inlay) that are “Very Likely to be Coming from Conflict
Regions” in Iraq And Syria . Around the Same Time UNESCO
was concerned that the Looting in ISIS Controlled areas was
Taking Place on Industrial Scale .
The Recent Italian Seizing and these other Examples
Demonstrate at Least Three Things Related to ISIS And one More
to Terrorism as a Political Phenomenon. First, ISIS is Still Alive.
it Has Lost Most of its Territories In The Middle East and North
Africa, But its Ideology, its Cells, and its Members are Still at
Large And Continue to Represent a Major and Serious Threat for
the Security in the Entire Mediterranean Area. Second, ISIS has
been able to expand not only in Iraq and Syria, Where it had its
Core Territories, But Also Elsewhere. To Better Understand the
Territorial Organization of ISIS Gambhir described it as a Three
Rings Structure: The “Interior” Ring, The Middle East, where ISIS
focused its Main Effort; The “Near Abroad” Ring is Stretching
from Morocco to Pakistan; the “Far Abroad” Ring Encompasses
the Wider World, and Cyberspace . As a Consequence ISIS
appears to be Extended All over the Mediterranean Region and
to have Branches in Several States Such as Egypt, Libya, Syria,
Iraq. Third, It Has Good and Close Connection with Some Local
As For the Issue of Terrorism the Looting of Artefacts
Demonstrates clearly that there is a Link between Two
Phenomena, I.E. Terrorism and Criminality. Terrorist
Organizations Use Criminal Activities to Fund and Support their
operations as the Selling of oil and the Looting of Piece of Arts
in The Case of ISIS Demonstrate. However This Link is Also
Evident in the Theory of Terrorism. For Instance, one of The
First Theorists of the Use of Terrorism, Michail Aleksandrovič
Bakunin, Wrote that in Order to Win Terrorists Have to Join the
Criminals. Another Author, Johann Most, Wrote that Robbery
and Theft Are Integral Part of a Terrorist Campaign because it
is Impossible to Fight a Revolution without Money . In The
Sixties the Brasilian Carlos Marighella Wrote The Minimanual of
the Urban Guerrilla In Which He Pointed out the Importance of
Urban Operations Because, Among other Things, Within Cities
Terrorist Cells Can Find Banks and Other Economic Targets that
Could Help Them to Fund their Operations . Finally, The Link
Between Criminal Activities And Terrorism Is Well Established
by “Hybrid Warfare” Theory That Stresses The Merge Of Different
Tactics And Phenomena in the XXI Century Warfare Creating A
Kind of “New” Irregular War.