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At a small hotel in Baghdad's Judriyah district, generator mechanic Ali Ghazi sat watching President Obama's speech on a TV screen in the lobby as he smoked cigarettes. "Everything America does is important — it holds Iraq in its hands," he said. Others in the lobby ignored the speech.
Ghazi, who has no shortage of work in a city with hours a day of electrical power cuts, said despite Obama's assurances on the withdrawal of U.S. troops, he believed that the U.S. and Iraqi officials had secret deals that would allow American soldiers to stay in some areas.
On the al-Arabiya network the television was tuned to, warnings from Osama Bin Laden that an alliance between Muslims, Christians and Jews would hurt the Muslim faith ran at the bottom of the screen as Obama spoke.
Ghazi, 48, said he had no problem with the U.S. reaching out to the Muslim world. "'The world is built on interests," he said. "Enemies one minute can be friends the next."