From the former Soviet
republics to the Middle East and Afghanistan, Obama's election victory is seen
as a major milestone in U.S. history and a chance to restore the United States'
reputation around the world.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Baghdad regards Obama's victory as an
opportunity to establish "a successful future partnership" between the United
States and Iraq.
Pakistani children declare their support for Obama
Obama, a U.S. senator from
the state of Illinois, had opposed the Iraq invasion of 2003. During his
campaign, he called for a complete withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq
within 16 months -- a position that is shared by the Iraqi government.
"I, as an Iraqi, am asking President Obama to keep his promises about the
withdrawal of the security forces from our land," Iraqi journalist Baqi Naqid
"And we want him to be as friendly as he can be with the Iraqi people and the
government," he added. "We don't need an occupation here. We need people to help
us to improve the security situation here and services."
Baghdad resident Fadhil al-Shamri said he agrees. "We call upon President Obama
to have good relations with Iraq and to pull U.S. and multinational forces out
of Iraq as soon as possible."
Another Baghdad resident, Muhammad al-Shabiki, said it also is important for the
incoming U.S. administration to engage diplomatically with Iran and to craft a
new U.S. policy on the Middle East.
In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said the incoming U.S.
administration has no alternative but to reexamine its foreign policy toward all
regions in the world -- but especially the Middle East.
"A serious evaluation of the U.S. performance in the region -- particularly in
the past eight years -- is the most immediate recommendation that can be
prescribed to the U.S. government," Mottaki said.
The United States and Western Europe charge Iran with seeking to develop nuclear
weapons and the UN Security Council has levied sanctions on Tehran in an effort
to force it to cooperate with the UN's nuclear watchdog agency.
Calls For Change
In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai told journalists that Kabul's main demand
from the incoming U.S. president will be to review the U.S. military strategy in
"For now I will demand from the next American president that the war against
terrorism should not be fought in the Afghan villages. Therefore, the use of
aerial bombing, which often results in civilian casualties and destruction of
Afghan life and property, cannot produce tangible results," Karzai said.
"Going after their sanctuaries, their safe havens, training centers and stopping
those who train them and are funding them and are sending them to [kill the
international forces] and Afghans. That is the way to move forward," he added.
In the volatile southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan, residents expressed
hope that the Obama administration will be more successful in bringing peace and
stability to their country than the outgoing Bush administration has been.
"If Barack Obama is able to fulfill the promises and pledges that he has made
[during his campaign regarding Afghanistan]. Inshallah, it will have very
positive results in Afghanistan," said Raza Sultan Zadran, an ethnic Pashtun
from the southeastern province of Khost near the border with Pakistan.
Aimal Khan Momand, a resident of the Momand Dara district of Afghanistan's
eastern Nangarhar Province, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that he hopes
for new policies on Afghanistan from the incoming administration.
"Barack Obama should configure a policy for Afghanistan that results in peace
and stability," Momand said. "The people of Afghanistan are suffering from many
complex problems. I demand from him to come up with a policy for Afghanistan
that brings peace and tranquility to our land."
In the tribal regions of neighboring Pakistan, residents who were unhappy with
the policies of U.S. President George W. Bush's administration say they hope
Obama's election will help improve their situation.
Obama's election "is a positive development and we are happy. Bush's policies
were too harsh on Muslims. Now we will see what [Obama's] policies will mean for
Muslims," said Nasir Shah of the North Waziristan border region.
"We hope that he is a new face and that it is possible for him to bring some
changes. We hope that the United States will stop its attacks in the tribal
areas and that the Pakistani military will withdraw from those regions as well,"
he added. "They are conducting more attacks than the Americans."
Obama's election also is viewed positively by politicians in the former Soviet
republics of Central Asia.
"The supporters of [Obama's] Democratic Party are intellectuals and young
people. There has been strong support from the entire nation as well," said
Kyrgyz opposition leader Roza Otunbaeva, a former foreign minister and a former
ambassador to the United States.
"It is now a reality that a black person has been elected to the highest
position in the most powerful state in the world," she added. "This is a great
signal and encouragement [for the rest of the world.]"
In Tajikistan, the deputy chairman of parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee
said Obama's victory will lead to stronger ties between the Washington and
Dushanbe. Olimjon Salimov said that with Obama in the White House it will be
possible to put an end to "aggressions in the world."
He said he expects U.S. troops to be withdrawn soon from Iraq, and that, in
general, there will be a positive change in U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan contributed to this report
Copyright (c) 2008 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
... Payvand News - 11/05/08 ... --