Elizabeth Tsurkov; Researcher Or Spy?!
A Russian-Israeli woman with extensive experience in political, research and military fields was kidnapped by unidentified agents in the Iraqi capital Baghdad a few days ago. In this article, we intend to examine the dimensions of the incident and Tsurkov’s background.
After the publication of news stories about the disappearance of the Russian-Israeli woman, an anonymous high-ranking Israeli official presented a report to a group of Israeli journalists and strongly denied published news about Tsurkov’s membership in the terrorist organization Mossad, but investigations show something else.
Israeli media introduced Tsurkov as an “Israeli prisoner” in Iraq and the Israeli Prime Minister’s office announced that she is alive and was kidnapped by Iraq’s Hezbollah Battalions.
Iraqi media claims, Israel’s statement was based on an encrypted message from one of Mossad’s agents, which stated: The crow has been caught! Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced: Tsurkov, who has dual citizenship of Russia and Israel, entered Iraq using her Russian passport.
It is said that she is a PhD student at Princeton University in the US and an analyst of West Asian affairs who entered Iraq to conduct academic research. Later, Abu Ali al-Askari, head of the security office of Hezbollah Battalions rejected the allegations, describing Netanyahu’s claim on the issue as a dangerous matter.
A few days after Tsurkov’s disappearance, her sister said in an interview with Israeli media that she was aware of her sister’s abduction from the first moments and quickly informed the Israeli regime. She claimed the family decided to keep it a secret in the hope that the matter would be resolved quickly and quietly.
Tsurkov has been active on Twitter for over 15 years and openly supported wars and interventions against countries that the US and Israel consider their enemies, especially Syria. Despite the crimes of terrorist groups and opponents of the Syrian government, she helped to whitewash in favor of Syrian militants.
According to her close friends, she was a former member of the Israeli army intelligence forces who participated in Israel’s 2006 war against Lebanon’s Hezbollah (33-day war). Tsurkov is also simultaneously a member of several Israeli think tanks and US institutions, including New Lines Institute.
Tsurkov’s trips to Iraq!
Tsurkov traveled to various countries in the region, including Lebanon and Syria, where the visit of Israelis is prohibited. The reasons for changing and hiding her identity on all these trips are also interesting. Tsurkov reported in February 2019 that she had visited the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.
According to some sources, she also visited the city of Mosul in 2019 and 2020. The trips took place while the entry of Zionists into Iraq is prohibited. Also, Israel prohibits its citizens from traveling to countries such as Iraq without a special permit from the Israeli Ministry of Interior.
The presence of any Israeli in Iraq – especially an Israeli woman with such a resume! – becomes sensitive. Some sources claimed, Tsurkov first visited Baghdad in early 2022. She traveled to several cities in Iraq, including Basra, Maysan, and Najaf, and lived with an Iraqi woman in the Karada neighborhood of Baghdad. She entered Iraq again with a two-month visa in November 2022 and extended it in the United Arab Emirates in January of that year.
Despite repeated claims by Israeli officials that Tsurkov was present in Iraq to conduct research for her PhD studies, Princeton University’s published policies reject Israeli officials’ excuses, because Iraq is among about 20 so-called X-class countries that the university strongly prohibits its students from traveling to for student affairs; a law and policy that existed before and after Tsurkov’s trip to Iraq.
Moreover, all Princeton University students must register any domestic or international travel related to their course at the university to ensure that their travel complies with the rules. Students can have personal trips to X-class countries (for example, to visit friends or family) but Princeton University law is unambiguous: “You cannot travel to X-class countries for personal work and then engage in course-related activities!”
Interestingly, during an interview with an Iraqi journalist in Sadr City, Baghdad, Tsurkov described the US government as a “tyrannical government” in the face of Iraq and praised the Iraqi journalist.
Given her extensive and constant support for US military intervention in Syria and other countries and her membership in American institutions and think tanks, this is an obvious deception.
Despite having a history of publishing anti-Shia news and promoting extremist ideas affiliated with Al-Qaeda in Syria, Tsurkov introduces herself as an advocate of Sadr!
According to statements by Iraqi individuals close to Tsurkov, she met with several Iraqis under different names and asked questions about resistance groups, Sadr movement. She also requested people to meet with leaders of the movement. It is said that Tsurkov had a conversation with one of the senior leaders of the movement days before her disappearance.
Will we see Tsurkov’s exchange?
Contradictory reports were published about the efforts of different parties to free Tsurkov. Some media claim Iran and Israel have been negotiating the exchange of prisoners, including Tsurkov, through Russian mediation since June.
The Russian ambassador to Baghdad denied any Russian involvement in her case. Reports were published about the extensive efforts of the Iraqi government to identify Tsurkov’s location, because the US embassy in Baghdad is strongly pursuing her disappearance.
In February 2021, Tsurkov tweeted that she was “generally opposed” to prisoner exchanges; even if she is arrested on her next trip to Syria or Iraq! Tsurkov was last seen on March 23 leaving a cafe in the Al-Karada neighborhood.
Tsurkov is fluent in English, Hebrew, Russian, and Arabic and used her Russian passport for easy travel to Arab countries under the guise of research and human rights work.
Seemingly, Tel Aviv failed in its infiltration operation of one of its elements into Baghdad with the code name “Crow”. However, it may take time to fully determine why Tsurkov was in Iraq and exactly what actions she took or intended to take!