TIME Foreign Policy

Kerry Says U.S. Air Strikes in Iraq Would Be ‘Act of Irresponsibility’

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Erbil, Iraq on June 24, 2014.
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Erbil, Iraq on June 24, 2014. Hamit Husein—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Top American diplomat warns against strikes in a power vacuum

Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday ruled out U.S. air strikes in Iraq so long as its government remains fractured along sectarian lines and incapable of combating extremist Sunni militants who are capturing towns in the country’s north.

Kerry told CBS News that the U.S. military was prepared to provide assistance to Iraqi troops, but launching air strikes at this moment would constitute “a complete and total act of responsibility.”

“There’s no government, there’s no backup, there’s no military, there’s nothing there that provides the capacity for success,” Kerry said.

His remarks appeared to walk back comments made the day before, when he suggested the progress my fighters from the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) could force U.S. action. Kerry is in Iraq this week meeting with the country’s leaders and urging them to form a more inclusive government.

[CBS]

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