In Iraq people's fate are tied to the fate of America. The decisions the next president will make about U.S. troop levels and U.S. dollars being spent in Iraq will trickle down to those who live in Fallujah, Najaf, Baghdad and beyond.
A long term security agreement known as the Status of Forces Agreement has been rife with tense negotiations. The final product may fall to the next administration. Already Iraqis are now calling it the "withdrawal agreement."
Many Iraqis tell me that America broke this country and it is still shattered. When they look at their lives they see the lack of electricity, the corruption, the lack of clean water and much more. Security has improved but everything here is tenuous and violence, which has dropped but not disappeared, may come back.
Some Iraqis want Americans to leave but are afraid of what happens next, others want Americans to stay until the mess is cleaned up. But most agree that a new president in the United States doesn't necessarily mean that change in their life will come.
Below are thoughts of Iraqis on this election day:
"I care so much about the American elections because the future of Iraq depends on them. I wish that Obama wins because if he wins he will withdraw the American forces from Iraq. I'm waiting, God willing Obama will win." -- Nahla al Adhamee, 45, a Sunni Arab university lecturer at the University of Irbil in the northern region of Kurdistan.
"I feel sick of politics because the American policy will never change no matter who's president. The only thing I care about is the SOFA and I hope it is not signed because the Americans will steal all of Iraq." -- Haider al Azzawi, 38, a Shiite Arab taxi driver in eastern Baghdad
"The whole world cares about this...I expect Obama will win but I do not care about them only if Obama fulfills his promise to withdraw the American troops from Iraq and we get rid of this ugly occupation." -- Ibrahim al Azzawi, 40, a Sunni Arab mechanic in southeast Baghdad
"The American elections have no importance to me at
all. Their presidency is one thing and their policy is another, therefore there
is no real difference who wins. American foreign policy is constant. Iraqis are
not ignorant, we have seen this over the years; one president goes and another
comes and he does nothing to remedy his predecessor's mistakes only what
concerns the American people. As for people in other countries they don't count
because they don't vote." -- Aqeel Mohammed, 37, a Shiite minibus
driver from southern Baghdad
"What possible change can either of them bring? And if they do anything, it is only to the interests of their own country – not for our sake. They might "bring their boys home" and "stop spending their money in Iraq" and "let Iraqis shoulder their own responsibilities"…. Where are we in all this?
Maybe Obama would withdraw their forces – but is that good? I would be happy to see them go – but I am also afraid.
What they do, they do for themselves. -- Widad Hamid,
74, a Sunni Arab retired high school teacher from western Baghdad.
"We do follow the news, but I don't expect any change at all. I have no faith in their promises because they say only what they think the American people want to hear. They dissemble their own people – not others. They don't care about the Iraqi people. It's all about their security freedoms, their boys, their money and their democracy. American foreign policy is one line, presidents come and go." -- Khalid Abu Abdullah, a Sunni Arab shopowner from northern Baghdad
"The residents of Sadr city don't car about the
American presidential election, now we care only about the blocked roads and
the traffic jams...I don't think the American policy will change towards our
country," -- Khaleel Abu Ahmad, 37, a Shiite engineer from the east
Baghdad district of Sadr City.
"I care about the lack of electricity and fuel, why should I care about the American elections?" -- Ammar, 30, a Shiite Arab from Baghdad.