It is possible that Al Baghdadi shares Bin Laden's habit of constantly following the news from the West on all of the big international television stations. If he does, the caliph must be following the results of the French elections from his Spartan retreat, perhaps on France 24 itself.
The caliph would certainly not have cause to celebrate, but would be awarded at least some satisfaction: the rise of right-wing political parties in European elections was one of the results Al Baghdadi predicted and hoped for in his plans for the destabilization and conquest of Europe. As Maurizio Molinari recounted in his last book Jihad, the "Lord of ISIS" repeatedly described the rise of extreme-right parties in elections as one of the positive consequences of the attacks on Europe in his recent speeches. A rise which, according to the predictions of the terrorist group, would create conditions of intolerance in the West which would serve to radicalize an ever-growing number of young Muslims.
"Politics as we know them have already been seized by talks of war."
Whether the Caliph is an expert in European politics or not, the regional French elections have certainly showed a marked shift towards the right. Between the victory of the National Front, which has suddenly become the leading party in France with 29.5 percent of the vote, and that of Sarkozy's Republicans with 27 percent, the right has accumulated more than half of the electorate, with a consistent voter turnout. It has not been a total disaster for the socialist party, whose 23 percent of the vote was slightly higher than anticipated; but this small shift is sending a faint but clear signal in view of the terrorist attacks that have shaken up the whole country. These results do not warrant any further comment. Yes, fine: La Pen and Sarkozy will be compared. Ok, sure: now it will be necessary to discuss how the right is not exactly racist and xenophobic but rather "identitarian," a patriotic, reassuring response to disappointed voters on both the right and the left, who no longer feel reassured by their leader. Et cetera. All of this and more will be talked about.
But beneath of all of this jargon, the French vote, which was the first to take place post-attack, indicates a swing in the political pendulum towards the right. It also shows the direction the next electoral season could take in Europe and America: in Spain there will be elections in two weeks, in Italy there will be administrative elections in six months, and in the US and France there will be presidential elections in 2016 and 2017 respectively, just to name a few.
Going back to al Baghdadi, we do not know what the caliph really thinks. But there is no doubt that his attacks have already upset the equilibrium in the West. Politics as we know them have already been seized by talks of war. And in spite of the attempts to deal with this war over the last few weeks, from the rift within the Labour Party in England to Hollande's bellicose spirit, up until today it has been up to the left to deal with the war: all in expectation of the next vote.
This article originally appeared in HuffPost Italy and was translated into English.