Iraqis received the victory of Barack Obama with cautious optimism on Wednesday.
"The most important thing about the victory of Obama is the rejection of Bush and the Republican party policies which were very repressive to Iraqis in the past five years," Mohsen Al Hussaini, a resident of Al Sadr City told Gulf News.
In Fallujah, a city known for its strong anti-American attitude, citizens were over joyous.
"The defeat of McCain was met with great joy because the Republican administration was directly responsible for the destruction of Fallujah and the killing of its sons," said Mohammad Obaid. The office of the presidency in Iraq issued a cautious statement.
"The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States will lead to tactical changes, but the overall goal will be unaltered. Obama speaks about accelerating the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, but we will come to know in the coming months whether this will be feasible," Naseer Al Ani, head of the Office of the Presidency said.
Yassin Majid, advisor to Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki admitted the change was exceptional, but also gave a reserved response.
"We do not expect a rapid and fundamental change in the situation of US troops in Iraq," he said.
But, the governor of Basra, Mohammad Mosbih Al Waili was more optimistic.
"I think that the situation in Iraq will be better under Obama, despite the fact that foreign policy towards the Middle East rarely changes, despite changes in administration," he said.
"Obama would be a more suitable leader to negotiate the departure of US troops from the country and I think Iraq will be better off dealing with him than President Bush," said Hussain Al Tahan the governor of Baghdad.
Kurds were excited by the Obama victory, but for different reasons.
"Vice-President elect Joe Biden is the leading proponent of dividing Iraq into three regions," said Zaheer Baiani, a media official in the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
If Iraq was divided, the Kurds would have their own country in the North, an aspiration they have long hoped for.
By Basil Adas
( Gulf News )