Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican nominee for the US presidential elections this year, said Tuesday that any hasty pullout from Iraq would be a mistake that would favor Iran and al-Qaida.
McCain, who has linked his political future to US success in Iraq, was in the wartorn country on Monday for meetings with Iraqi and US diplomatic and military officials.
"We were very encouraged by the success of the surge and the reduction in US casualties," McCain told reporters in Jordan, where he stopped on the next leg of a congressional visit that will also take him to Israel, Britain and France.
It was the senator's eighth visit to Iraq, and his first since emerging as the prospective Republican candidate. He is accompanied by Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., two of his top supporters in the race for president.