Speaking after a series of deadly blasts killed scores of civilians in Baghdad and Karbala, Kerry blamed the continuing violence in Iraq on “the failure of his (President George Bush’s) unilateral, ideological policy”.

“Europe and the Arab nations all have fundamental interest in not having a failed Iraq. But George Bush has failed completely to bring them to the table in a serious way,” Kerry told CNN.

Asked about nations who have deployed occupation forces in the war-torn country, Kerry said, “The fact is that those countries are really window dressing to the greatest degree.

“They weren’t there in the beginning when we went in and are not carrying the cost of this war,” added Kerry, who hopes to seal his party’s presidential nomination in a 10-state schedule of contests on Tuesday.

UN role

Countries who have deployed forces include Washington’s staunch ally Britain - which took part in the invasion last March - Denmark, Italy, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, South Korea and Spain.

Kerry has called for a major UN role in Iraq.

David Wade, a campaign spokesman, later clarified Kerry’s reference to “window dressing,” saying, “he was referring to the disproportionate size of the US and British forces compared to other countries”.

Kerry said he would “absolutely not” withdraw US forces from Iraq, where they currently number about 130,000.

“The United States cannot cut and run, just as we shouldn’t have gone in by bait and switch,” he said, using a con-game term to describe the White House’s claim about alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that have not been found.