How Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Surprise Is Being Received in the World's Hot Spots

Barack Obama's big surprise win this morning produced more than a few "huhs?!?" heard 'round the world. Our personal favorite came from Lech Walesa, the 1983 Peace Prize winner and Poland's president from 1990 to 1995, who told reporters in Warsaw: "Who, Obama? So fast? Too fast—he hasn't had the time to do anything yet." Of course, the head-scratching most relevant to this particular prize is happening in places like Jerusalem, Peshawar, and Harare. Here's what folks there have to say on the matter:

Afghanistan/Pakistan: Not such a popular call here, naturally. A spokesman for President Hamid Karzai had kind words for Obama, noting that "his hard work and his new vision on global relations, his will and efforts for creating friendly and good relations at a global level and global peace make him the appropriate recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize." That, of course, is somewhat at odds with other reports on his increasingly chilly relationship with the new administration. Meanwhile, from an undisclosed spot somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan, a spokesman for the Afghan Taliban movement told the Financial Times via satellite phone that, as the targets of drone attacks ordered by Obama, they considered him more deserving of a "war prize" than a peace prize. Another spokesman was on the line with Reuters, mocking, "The Nobel Prize for peace? Obama should have won the 'Nobel Prize for escalating violence and killing civilians.' " Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the senior leader of the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party pronounced the prize "a joke." "How embarrassing for those who awarded it to him because he's done nothing for peace," he said. "What change has he brought in Iraq, the Middle East or Afghanistan?"

A Mahmoud Abbas spokesman went the painstakingly diplomatic route, while Hamas was, well, characteristically Hamas. "President Abbas congratulated President Obama on winning the Nobel Prize," said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat. "The president wished that President Obama will achieve his quest for peace throughout the Middle East by establishing an independent Palestinian state in the 1967 borders with its capital in East Jerusalem." Meanwhile, in Gaza, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told reporters after his Friday prayers, "Unless real and deep-rooted change is made in American policy toward recognizing the rights of the Palestinian people. I would think such a prize would be useless."

Jerusalem was also split. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio the award would enhance Obama's ability "to contribute to establishing regional peace in the Middle East and a settlement between us and the Palestinians that will bring security, prosperity, and growth to all the peoples of the region." President Shimon Peres, who won the prize in 1994 for his efforts to strike an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, But

Iran: A spokesman for President Ahmedinejad took a more passive-aggressive approach. "We hope that this gives him the incentive to walk in the path of bringing justice to the world order," he said, "We are not upset, and we hope that by receiving this prize he will start taking practical steps to remove injustice in the world," he said. A rousing endorsement, indeed.

If anyone has set an example of graciousness, it's Morgan Tsvangirai. He didn't lose his cool when he had to yield the presidency to a madman, alongside whom he then had to work as prime minister. Now, after he was slated as a frontrunner in this year's Nobel contest, he's had his party put out a statement praising Barack Obama's win as "deserved," saying his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples make him a perfect candidate for winning this award." On the interwebs, however, his fans the world over are more blunt: "Yo Barack, I'm really happy for you and imma let you finish, but Morgan Tsvangirai was one the most peaceful dudes ever."

How Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Surprise Is Being Received in the World's Hot Spots | Analysis