KAGAN: Well, as Martha says, everyone knows the administration was trying very hard to keep troops in, because why? They're worried about, first of all, stability in Iraq, but also they're worried about Iranian influence and the spread of Iran. And that's how this is going to be viewed in much of the region, especially in the gulf states, other countries in the region who are worried about Iran and worried about American staying power.
And I think, unfortunately, it's going to be noticed that very shortly after we uncovered an Iranian plot to commit a terrorist act on American soil, very soon thereafter we announced our withdrawal from Iraq, we can explain that any way we want. In the region, it's going to look like a retreat.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me go to the region. And Senator McCain joins us from there. Senator, thank you for being with us from Amman, Jordan. How do you read the withdrawal and the announcement that all forces, including a residual force, will be out by the end of this year?
MCCAIN: Well, I think it's a serious mistake. And there was never really serious negotiations between the administration and the Iraqis. They could have clearly made an arrangement for U.S. troops.
Yes, I'm here in the region. And, yes, it is viewed in the region as a victory for the Iranians. And I don't think there's any doubt there is. Sadr just announced that, once the military is gone, that embassy personnel will be targets. So I think it's -- it's a serious mistake. I believe we could have negotiated an agreement. And I'm very, very concerned about increased Iranian influence in Iraq.
AMANPOUR: You heard Secretary Clinton talk about U.S. military agreements with countries in region, and she likened them to countries elsewhere. Do you think that's going to be enough? And how do you see Iraq a year from now? Obviously, many people are worried about it descending into the same kind of fighting that we saw over the last several years.
MCCAIN: Well, I think the fact that we have other bases in the region would have very little impact on Iraq itself. Remember that Secretary Clinton and President Obama and Vice President Biden said that the surge wouldn't work. President Obama campaigned saying that they'd get out of Iraq. All of that is not lost on the people here in the region.
Look, it's a great day. Tunisia is having elections, as you mentioned. In Libya, they are going to step by step towards democracy, hopefully. But in my view, this can lead to Iranian influence in Iraq through Sadr and Maliki, I think, is leaning more and more...
RADDATZ: Senator McCain?
MCCAIN: ... towards alliances with Iraq -- with Iran. Go ahead.
RADDATZ: Senator McCain, Martha Raddatz. Tell me how -- you say it's clear they could have come to an agreement with Iraq. How? You brought up Muqtada al-Sadr, the fiery Shiite cleric. He was threatening that all U.S. troops had to be out of there. He has been a huge problem there. How does Maliki face somebody like that? How do you get an agreement? It's not that easy.