These earrings were withdrawn from Christie's auction after Donny George spotted them and said that they were looted from Nimrud. At the time I was a bit skeptical about how on earth one proves that looted earrings were indeed looted - but it turns out that they were in fact from the material he himself excavated at Nimrud in 1988, and photographed there. This may be semantics, but to me that means they were stolen (not just looted), from the Museum's deposit at the Central Bank in Baghdad sometime after they were sent there in 1991. The article suggests that this was after the Americans arrived in 2003, but as we now know much looting took place towards the end of Saddam Husein's reign of terror, and not just after it.
Anyway, congratulations to Donny George - not just for spotting them, but for being persistent and getting them sent home.