Following last week’s warning from US JCS Chairman Gen Martin Dempsey that Washington was none too happy at the prospect of being thought “complicit” in an Israeli attack on Iran, the two countries have continued to spar more or less openly about how to deal with Tehran’s nuclear activities. Basically, the Israelis want the Americans to set red lines and deadlines for military action. The Americans are, unsurprisingly, reluctant to box themselves in. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged on10 September that “we’re not setting deadlines” for a resort to force, while on the same day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that the Iranians do not see any “clear red line” and that “the sooner we establish one, the greater the chances that there won’t be a need for other types of action.” The next day - after the White House let it be known that Mr Netanyahu will not be meeting with President Obama when he visits the US later this month to attend the UN General Assembly - Mr Netanyahu launched what the Israeli daily Haaretz described as “an unprecedented verbal attack on the US government,” saying at a press conference that “if Iran knows that there is no deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it’s doing. It’s continuing, without any interference, towards obtaining a nuclear weapons capability and from there, nuclear bombs. So far, we can say with certainty that diplomacy and sanctions haven’t worked. The sanctions have hurt the Iranian economy, but they haven’t stopped the Iranian nuclear program…every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs.” Moreover he asserted Israel’s right to act unilaterally in uncompromising terms, saying that “those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.” Statements such as these may be designed to scare the international community into more decisive action. Or they may be intended to clear the way for an Israeli attack on Iran and the regional mayhem that will surely ensue.