Iraqi politicians welcomed the speech U.S. President Barack Obama delivered at Cairo University on June 4. They emphasised that the U.S. must work towards putting the ideas it articulated into practice to change its image among Arab citizens.
United Iraqi Alliance bloc representative Khalid Al-Asadi said the ideas in Obama’s speech point to the possibility of change in U.S. policy toward Muslim peoples. “President Obama … has been betting his vision, which he aims to implement in international relations by introducing surprises as he changes the course of U.S. policy.”
He added, “These surprises, while not affecting the substance of U.S. policy, clearly point to the possibility for change in the nature and level of U.S.-Islamic relations, and even U.S.-Middle East relations.”
Iraqi Accord Front representative Rashid Al-Azzawi maintained, “Obama’s speech sought to change the U.S. image before the world and Islamic people, including Iraq.” He continued, “U.S. policy began to change upon Obama’s taking office as President, and it must continue to do so to bring change in the world and in concepts and values.”
The Islamic Virtue (Fadhila) bloc’s Sabah Al-Saadi called on Muslim peoples to articulate their views towards U.S. policy, now that Obama reflected openness to the Arab and Islamic world, to take advantage of that in solving crucial issues affecting Arab and Muslim peoples.
He added, “Obama’s speech requires that Iraqis understand the new situation of the world’s movement towards transformation, and that they truly desire the transition to a new and democratic Iraq.”
At the grassroots level, Iraqis welcomed the views expressed by Obama, stressing their desire for a safer world. Leila Al-Amiri said, “I had fears that the U.S. withdrawal might leave behind big problems, but President Obama made me feel secure that the situation will not return to how it was previously.”
Al-Amiri noted, “Obama did not surprise me; he re-formulated what he asserted in his inaugural address.” She said she was concerned that his Cairo speech might not have contained the same ideas and U.S. intentions towards Iraq.
Al-Sabah Centre for Strategic Studies researcher Afaf Abdel Qader said the speech was a positive new step in implementing what the U.S. administration promised in the security agreement between Baghdad and Washington. He noted that the ideas conveyed in Obama’s speech would create a new atmosphere of tolerance and would expand the circle of East-West dialogue.
Source: AFP /