Senator John McCain arrived in Iraq on Sunday morning on a trip that was described as a visit by an official Congressional delegation, but that also served to showcase his foreign policy credentials as he campaigns for the White House.
Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was scheduled to meet with officials including the American ambassador to Iraq, Ryan C. Crocker, and the senior American military commander in the country, Gen. David H. Petraeus. He was also scheduled to meet with the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, said Yaseen Majid, a media adviser to Mr. Maliki.
Many Iraqi politicians are closely monitoring the American presidential race, and some said the visit bolstered their belief that if Mr. McCain, of Arizona, succeeded President Bush in the November election, the American military would have a large presence in Iraq for a very long time.
"This visit confirms that the Republicans believe that the Iraqi war is very important in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East," said Wael Abdul Latif, an independent Shiite member of the Iraqi Parliament. "It's a message to Iran that the United States will never leave, even after Bush is gone."