Muqtada al Sadr in a statement:
"Obama cannot change the policies of America, for there are specialists who determine these policies that were - and will continue to be opposed to Islam. Honeyed grandiloquent political speeches mean one thing: America wants to pursue a different approach to control the world. It can no longer wage wars and lead armies to occupy and subjugate people; to bomb, kill, humiliate and make them homeless. To terrorize them with all manner of deadly and forbidden weapons.
We will not believe their words until they withdraw from our beloved Iraq. "
Iraqi Government Spokesman, Ali al Dabbagh in a statement:
"The Iraqi Government welcomes President Obama's renewal of the commitment made by the American Administration to Iraq to respect the datelines of withdrawing American Forces from Iraq according to the Withdrawal of Forces Agreement signed between the two countries, and that there was no interest to maintain military bases on its land which is in agreement with the vision of the Iraqi Government and its desire for a strategic partnership between the two countries.
"The speech shows a positive direction to be taken by the American Administration towards comprehending the culture of the people of the region and interacting with it which will present a better opportunity for cultural dialogue to develop between the peoples and reduce the opportunity for radical ideas to develop, those that try to distort the image of Islam in the world."
Siham Mohammed, 58 yrs, mother of five, high school teacher:
"It was a nice speech. But there is a proverb in Arabic that goes, "There is no tax on words." People can say whatever they want. The clinch is in the doing – not in the saying. If Obama can do half what he promised regarding the image of Muslims, I will be satisfied. America has played a fundamental role in frightening the international community of Muslims. It is a thing that I can't forgive, and that has made me afraid of the international community and what their reaction might be to me. If he can remedy that, he is a hero."
Mustafa Ayad, 34 yrs, father of two, accountant:
"I think Bush has dragged the reputation of America into the mud by his aggressive actions, and that Obama is trying to recapture that former presence it had in the minds and hearts of people all around the world. But he asks us to forgive and forget – that is too much. Forgive and forget a million Iraqis killed over the period of occupation? Forgive and forget the indignities and the humiliation of having to scuttle over to the pavement for the "Lords" to pass us on our streets? Forget – and forgive Abu Ghraib? And the list is long. I cannot forgive and forget my relatives who were killed, displaced or detained and humiliated for mere suspicion. We lost our homes, our livelihoods and our families most of whom fled. But in spite of that I am willing to listen. I am willing to give Obama the benefit of doubt. It remains to be seen what he can do to put my country back together."