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Iraqis say they like Obama
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US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is popular among Iraqis.

In two dozen interviews across the country, many said a black man would understand their plight.

Obama arrived in Baghdad yesterday on only his second trip to Iraq. He wants to bolster his foreign policy credentials and counter accusations from Republican presidential rival John McCain that he has not seen conditions in Iraq for himself.

"I support Obama. I think he is the best for Iraq and for the world ... if McCain wins I will be devastated," said Mustafa Salah, an office worker in the southern city of Basra.

Hisham Fadhil, a doctor in northern Kirkuk added: "He is much better than others because he is black and black people were tyrannized in America. I think he will feel our suffering."

Obama is the son of a white mother and a black Kenyan father. He refers to himself as black and often talks of his multi-cultural background.

Indeed, Iraqis are divided over Obama's plan to withdraw US combat troops within 16 months if he wins office. Some say the policy is overdue while others are opposed because they feel Iraq's security forces are not ready.

"What Obama said about pulling out US forces is just for political gains. It is unrealistic," said Munadhil al-Mayyahi, an independent politician in Basra.

(China Daily via agencies July 21, 2008)

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