Obama, Netanyahu to meet as Israel announces arrest of Iranian spy

posted at 8:41 am on September 30, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Today’s summit meeting between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu promised a renewed focus on the Israeli-Palestinian peace effort, but a phone call last week changed the calculus.  With the US talking about normalization of relations with Iran potentially by the end of the year, the Israeli Prime Minister promised his people a healthy dose of truth-telling in the White House:

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are meeting at a time that the three-decade estrangement between the United States and Iran may be nearing an end.

Obama and Netanyahu are set to meet Monday, and the White House said the two leaders would discuss negotiations with the Palestinians, developments in Syria and Iran.

The topic of Iran was likely to be one of the most contentious.

“I will tell the truth in the face of the sweet talk and the onslaught of smiles,” Netanyahu said before boarding his flight from Israel to the United States on Sunday. “Telling the truth today is vital for the security and peace of the world and, of course, it is vital for the security of the state of Israel.”

To underscore the threat of Iran, Israel announced the capture of a Belgian businessman, accused of being a spy for Iran. And not all of his interest was in Israeli targets, either:

Israeli security officials said Sunday that they have arrested a Belgian businessman of Iranian descent for spying on Israel and gathering intelligence on possible terrorism targets.

Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence service released photographs that it said were taken from the suspect’s camera that included exterior shots of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

The alleged spy was detained Sept. 11 as he was attempting to leave Israel through Ben Gurion International Airport. The announcement of the arrest comes two days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address the U.N.General Assembly, where he is expected to argue that Iran cannot be trusted and that stiff economic sanctions should remain in place until it agrees to curtail its nuclear program.

The suspect, Ali Mansouri, has an interesting history:

Israel said Mansouri was recruited by Iran’s Quds Force, a unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps charged with “extraterritorial operations” of assassination, insurgency and attacks, according to U.S. Defense Department officials. Its leadership answers directly to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

According to a dossier provided by Israel, Mansouri was born in Tehran in 1958, left in 1980, lived in Turkey until 1997, moved to Belgium, married a Belgian, became a Belgian citizen in 2006 and changed his name.

“During questioning, the suspect Ali Mansouri described entering Israel under a Belgian identity using the alias Alex Mans, and detailed his recruitment and activation process by Iranian intelligence elements,” according to Israel’s Shin Bet.

If Netanyahu wants to do some truth-telling, there’s no indication that Obama’s in the mood to listen.  According to the Daily Caller’s Neil Munro, the White House is planning a lecture series featuring Joe Biden instead:

President Barack Obama’s first order of business at his Monday meeting with Israel’s prime minister is to prod him to establish at least one new Arab state alongside his tiny country. …

Obama is also pushing for a deal even though there’s still no sign of any Arab leader announcing an intention, or showing an ability, to defeat expected Arab opposition to any deal that recognizes’ Israel’s right to exist.

The White House’s pressure for Israeli concessions will be underlined by an afternoon speech from Vice President Joe Biden.

He’s expected to give a 2.45 p.m. speech at the annual conference of J Street, a progressive lobbying group that advocates for the creation of a new Arab state alongside Israel. “Support for a Palestinian state is a pro-Israel position, making the group both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian,” says the group’s website.

I’m not sure Netanyahu will be proven correct … about the “onslaught of smiles.”


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Obama has already talked about how he can’t stand taking calls from Netanyahu.

bluegill on September 30, 2013 at 8:43 AM

So, Obama has time to meet with Netanyahu and negotiate with terrorist states but he won’t call the House and Senate leadership together to hammer out a way to keep the government funded?

Happy Nomad on September 30, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Well, there’ll be at least one adult in the room.

TXUS on September 30, 2013 at 8:58 AM

When things aren’t going well for someone, they fall back to what they know, and their original plans, even if they suck. In 2008, as a candidate, Obama said he’d meet with the Iranian leader if he wanted to. And to fulfill that silly notion, now he’s talking with him on the phone. I didn’t think he’d really do it, but there it is.

Paul-Cincy on September 30, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Obama and Kerry have moved into “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil” mode with Iran.
Obama desperately wants to be in the history books on Iran.
Kerry desperately wants to be Democratic party nominee for President in 2016.

Hillary is busy sending Bill out on snipe attacks….

albill on September 30, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Obama to Iran last week:

Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my number,
So call me, maybe?

Obama of Netanyahu this week:

What’sa matta you, hey,
Gotta no respect, whatta you think you do,
Why you looka so sad?
It’s-a not so bad, it’s-a nice-a place,
Ah, Shaddap You Face.

Happy Nomad on September 30, 2013 at 9:16 AM

If Obama had his way and didn’t have to deal with election realities, he’d no doubt much rather side with Khamenei and Iran in pressuring Israel and Netanyahu to change their ways or face the threat of U.S. retaliation than the other way around.

jon1979 on September 30, 2013 at 9:17 AM

If Obama had his way and didn’t have to deal with election realities, he’d no doubt much rather side with Khamenei and Iran in pressuring Israel and Netanyahu to change their ways or face the threat of U.S. retaliation than the other way around.

jon1979 on September 30, 2013 at 9:17 AM

True but the Jews run this country so he can’t. /

Instead he’s probably appointed more openly anti-Semites than any other administration in recent history.

Happy Nomad on September 30, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Instead he’s probably appointed more openly anti-Semites than any other administration in recent history.

Happy Nomad on September 30, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Today’s featured appointee

Shy Guy on September 30, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Wow, trying to impress Obama with the truth.

You’ll let us know how that worked out, won’t you?

Socratease on September 30, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Obama doesn’t appear to be inclined to change his mindset on anything. He has been perfectly brainwashed by the progressive elitists.

Deano1952 on September 30, 2013 at 10:53 AM

This has ominous portent.

Obama is so intent on his agenda that he forgets who he is dealing with.

Before this is over, there is going to be a lot of Obama effigies burned and stomped.

Never has this country been force into a position where evil is supported and the good guys get the stick.

dockywocky on September 30, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Isn’t it interesting that they (obama, Kerry, etc.) will endanger the entire world allowing those mad mullahs to have a nuclear weapons plant, disguised as a power plant…….but will not allow any new ones to be built in the USA, even to replace the coal powered plants that they are killing.

Plus, the timing…to embarrass/diminish Netanyahu.

Israel, you’re on your own.

obama is with his bros, always.

Schadenfreude on September 30, 2013 at 11:51 AM