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Levin: No military action without unified Iraqi request

The Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Iraqis must come together to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) or risk seeing their country splinter.
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) (C) is trailed by reporters outside of a closed-door Senate Armed Services Committee briefing on the Bergdahl prisoner swap at the U.S. Capitol in Washington June 10, 2014. The White House has been trying to appease angry lawmakers since U.S. President Barack Obama announced on May 31 that U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl had been exchanged for the five inmates from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

The powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is ruling out airstrikes in Iraq unless the country's religious and ethnic groups join together in a formal request for US military support.

The comments from Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., come as the Shiite government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has asked the United States to bomb the Sunni militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) as they make their way south toward the capital, Baghdad. Some Republicans are urging the administration to act now, but the White House and many lawmakers of both parties are worried about getting sucked into a sectarian conflict if Maliki does not mend fences with Sunnis and other groups.

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