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How al Qaida votes
Can terrorists swing the U.S. election?
 

In April, the McCain campaign “pounced on the news that Hamas had briefly ‘endorsed’ Barack Obama for president,” said Noah Shachtman in Wired online. “So I guess it’s no surprise that Obama’s backers in the blogosphere are jumping all over” a Washington Post report that members of al-Hesbah, a password-protected online forum with close ties to al Qaida, “are pulling for John McCain” to win Nov. 4.

This story says a lot about the Post’s vote than al Qaida's, said John McCormack in The Weekly Standard online. The newspaper is making a big deal about “a minor terrorist’s ranting” about his support for McCain, but it was silent about support for Obama expressed by Hamas and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Well, security specialists say this is meaningful, and hardly surprising, said Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times online. The thinking is that Obama, who “doesn’t fit Arab or Muslim images of white colonial oppressors,” will hurt al Qaida’s recruitment efforts. “It’s not 100 percent sure that this is the view of Osama bin Laden,” but it’s a good bet.

McCain’s campaign disagrees, said The Economist online. They argue that McCain would be al Qaida’s “worst enemy,” and that the blogger is backing him as an attempt at reverse psychology. But who cares which man al Qaida is backing? Obama and McCain, and U.S. voters, should care more about the “moderates in the Muslim world.”

Al Qaida doesn’t actually think it can specifically help Obama or McCain, said Daniel Benjamin in Slate. They just “need to leave their fingerprints on big events,” and elections fit their criteria. For Islamist terrorists, the main point is that they “show their Muslim audience that they are having a powerful impact on the world stage.”

 

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