Everyone these days seems to have an opinion on America's presidential election — including, now, Al Qaeda.
A newspaper affiliated with Al Qaeda's branch in the Arabian Peninsula, named Al Masra, published an in-depth report in its latest issue on Saturday reflecting on the current state of the presidential election. Much like American media for the past year, the bulk of the 1,500-word article is devoted to talking about Donald Trump.
A Trump victory "will be a drastic change in American policy towards Muslims," read the English translation of the article, which was published by SITE Intelligence Group on Monday.
"The hostility that Trump bears and the Islamophobia from which he suffers will have a huge impact in the conflict in the Middle East region and the Muslim countries in general," the author, who is identified as 'Adil al-Ahmad, continues.
"The victory of Hilary Clinton," al-Ahmad adds, "[will] be an extension of the policy of Obama and the Democrats in the region."
Al-Ahmad's take on the election is actually not that far off from many American political commentators. He has pretty much decided that the general contest is going to come down to Trump versus Clinton in November. According to him, Bernie Sanders, who is identified as the "social democrat" from Vermont, and Ted Cruz don't stand a chance in their respective Democratic and Republican primaries.
"It seems that Cruz will not finish the presidential race like Sanders, while it is expected that Trump and Clinton will finish the final elections," al-Ahmad writes.
Also mirroring US election coverage, the Al Masra report doesn't even mention John Kasich. The Ohio governor is still running a determined, yet lagging, campaign against Cruz and Trump for the Republican nomination. But Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the race weeks ago, is afforded nearly an entire paragraph. The author highlights Rubio's criticism of Trump's rhetoric against Islam during the last GOP debate in Miami.
The image accompanying the report includes the pictures of all 18 one-time presidential hopefuls. The collage even includes the faces of Jim Gilmore and Lincoln Chafee, candidates that most Americans failed to recognize even when they were still in the race.
The article opens with a lengthy, yet not entirely accurate, explanation of America's admittedly confusing democratic process. The US is currently in the middle of its 58th presidential election, the author explains, because the 22nd Amendment of the Constitution prevents President Barack Obama from seeking reelection for a third term.
"Custom has dictated that there be a competition between the two largest parties in America, the Republicans and the Democrats," al-Ahmad writes. Whoever wins in November, he adds, will be president from 2017 to 2021.
But al-Ahmad also gets some details wrong. He says that Clinton has 300 delegates (she actually has 1,712) and the support of President Barack Obama (he has yet to endorse any candidate).
Even if the article gets some facts wrong, it is made abundantly clear that the outcome of the 2016 election matters to Al Masra's readership. "Amidst expectations of the victor for the presidency of the United States of America," al Ahmad writes, it seems that the features of the next period of the conflict will be ruled by the results of these elections."
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