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This Is The 2016 Election As Seen From Around The World

The entire globe has had its eye on the United States during the election season. As it comes to a close, here's some of the best reporting on how the world has affected the election — and vice versa.

Posted on November 7, 2016, at 1:35 p.m. ET

1. This Is What Soldiers On The Mosul Front Think About The Election, October 2016

Warzer Jaff

QAYYARAH AIR BASE, Iraq — Out in the dust south of Mosul — the Americans call it “moon dust” because it’s fine like fresh snow — two veteran US soldiers said they felt a world away from the hysteria of the US election season back home.

They had watched the last debate, they said, and researched the meaning of a few of the campaign’s memes. But they weren’t hanging on the campaign’s many twists and turns. “We’re just here and we’re going to do our jobs well no matter who’s in charge,” said one, a 33-year-old staff sergeant from Pennsylvania.

“Same uniforms, same job,” said the other, a sergeant first class from Texas.

2. Meet Fancy Bear, The Russian Group Hacking The US Election, October 2016

BuzzFeed News; Getty

The group behind the hacks is known as Fancy Bear, or APT 28, or Tsar Team, or a dozen other names that have been given to them over the years by cybersecurity researchers. Despite being one of the most reported-on groups of hackers active on the internet today, there is very little researchers can say with absolute certainty. No one knows, for instance, how many hackers are working regularly within Fancy Bear, or how they organize their hacking squads. They don’t know if they are based in one city or scattered in various locations across Russia. They don’t even know what they call themselves.

The group is, according to a White House statement last week, receiving their orders from the highest echelons of the Russian government and their actions “are intended to interfere with the US election process.” For the cybersecurity companies and academic researchers who have followed Fancy Bear’s activities online for years, the hacking and subsequent leaking of Clinton’s emails, as well as those of the DNC and DCCC, were the most recent — and most ambitious — in a long series of cyber-espionage and disinformation campaigns. From its earliest-known activities, in the country of Georgia in 2009, to the hacking of the DNC and Clinton in 2016, Fancy Bear has quickly gained a reputation for its high-profile, political targets.

3. The Rise Of Europe's Religious Right, July 2014

Thibault Camus / AP

ROME — On a hot Friday in late June, the walls of a 15th-century marble palace in a secluded corner of the Vatican were lit up with the face of Breitbart News Chairman Steve Bannon.

“We believe — strongly — that there is a global tea party movement,” declared Bannon, who took over the American conservative new media empire after the death of its founder, Andrew Breitbart, in 2012. Speaking via Skype to a conference on Catholic responses to poverty, he said, “You’re seeing a global reaction to centralized government, whether that government is in Beijing or that government is in Washington, D.C., or that government is in Brussels… On the social conservative side, we’re the voice of the anti-abortion movement, the voice of the traditional marriage movement.”

Events across the Atlantic do look familiar to American eyes: an uprising against long-established parties in Brussels amid economic stagnation. But these elements have been around a long time in European politics. What is new — and what feels so American — is represented by the group Bannon was addressing: Europe is getting its own version of the religious right.

4. Meet The Workers Who Sewed Donald Trump Clothing For A Few Dollars A Day, July 2016

atie Orlinsky for BuzzFeed News

BuzzFeed News spoke this month with more than a dozen current and former workers at that factory complex. Interviewed independently, they described harsh conditions including a dangerously hot factory floor where temperatures sometimes reached 105, verbally abusive supervisors, unsanitary cafeteria food, and an on-site doctor who some said did not acknowledge their work-related injuries.

“You are enslaved by the production goals,” said one former worker who said she was fired without explanation in December. The woman, who did not want to be named for fear of retaliation by her former employer, said she worked there from around 2009 until December, making, she said, approximately $61 a week plus a bonus of $8 if she met production goals, which rarely happened. That came out to about $1.60 an hour, she said, and left her with a chronically sore right shoulder from hunching over a sewing machine.

5. Here’s What People In Trump Tower’s Mall Think About The Donald, December 2015

Ozan Kose / AFP / Getty Images

Real estate developer Trump’s brand has long been synonymous in much of the Muslim world with glitzy, hard-charging nouveau riche capitalism that appeals to ambitious consumers, retailers, and wealthy individuals seeking a tony residential address. In other words, exactly the kind of Muslim hustlers who would do well in the U.S.

But his comments about Muslims have soured the appeal of the projects in the Muslim world that bear his name, including a golf resort in Dubai, a hotel in Bali, and upcoming real estate projects in Baku and Abu Dhabi. “Know what this is?” Syrian activist and writer Aboud Dandachi wrote on Twitter, posting a photo of the sleek glass-and-steel Istanbul project. “The Trump Tower in Istanbul. Dude wants to ban Muslims but doesn’t mind making money off of us.”

6. This Is What It’s Like To Watch The Rise Of Trump From Baghdad, September 2016

Alice Martins for BuzzFeed News

BAGHDAD — Mohammad al-Ani knows Donald Trump. He’s been watching men like him rise in Iraq for years. They’re the kind of guys who thunder on about outsiders causing all of Iraq’s troubles. They condemn foreigners, or, more subtly, those of another religion, sect, or ethnicity. They whip up public frenzies to target the weak and consolidate power.

“If you want to be president you have to balance all the religions inside your country,” Ani, the 21-year-old engineering student, said. He was spending his Friday morning earning a little extra cash selling books at Baghdad’s Mutannabi Street book market, a relative oasis of cosmopolitanism in a city, country, and region torn apart by conflicts rooted in political, religious, and ethnic differences.

“Look what happened in Iraq,” he said. “It’s what happens when you don’t respect people of other sects.”

7. These Are The Africans Who Actually Like Donald Trump — Really, March 2016

Daniel Hayduk / AFP / Getty Images

It’s unclear what Trump himself thinks of any of Africa’s 54 countries other than one is “very dangerous,” while the rest are “far away” and brimming with deadly diseases. Also Barack Obama was born somewhere there, but is faking American citizenship.

So why does a candidate whose supporters scream “white power” online and call for black Americans to return to Africa at rallies appeal to anyone in Africa? Do they secretly hope the motherland will benefit from a black exodus?

8. DC Is Watching Russia’s Latest Chess Moves Very Carefully, October 2016

Alexei Druzhinin / AFP / Getty Images

“It’s like the raptors testing the fence in Jurassic Park,” one administration official said. “The potential that an accident or collision could escalate or could result in serious injury or death is real cause for concern.”

The tensions between Russia and the United States are at a post-Cold War low, with the US doing everything possible to avoid antagonizing Russia further — including warning off US lawmakers from publicly naming Moscow as the source of a series of hacks into the US political system.

9. Donald Trump Gives These Chinese People Something To Believe In, May 2016

BuzzFeed News / Getty

At first Trump’s presidential campaign was seen in China like many people in the U.S. viewed it, as an entertaining reality show sequel. He was mocked, given the nickname “Chuang Po,” or “Breaking Bed,” because that’s what his surname sounds like in Mandarin. Meanwhile, from the second his campaign was announced Trump started talking about China — a lot, putting the country at the center of his narrative about U.S. decline, mentioning China even more than Mexico in speeches and interviews and shouting repeatedly about how the country was making a fool of the United States.

Despite this, the exposure, the controversies, and the “attacks” resulted in an unexpected outcome: A vocal Trump fan base in China started to emerge, taking the internet by storm and projecting their own visions of China’s future onto the possible leader of the free world.

10. How Teens In The Balkans Are Duping Trump Supporters With Fake News, November 2016

Getty Images / BuzzFeed News

Over the past year, the Macedonian town of Veles (population 45,000) has experienced a digital gold rush as locals launched at least 140 US politics websites. These sites have American-sounding domain names such as,,,, and They almost all publish aggressively pro-Trump content aimed at conservatives and Trump supporters in the US.

The young Macedonians who run these sites say they don’t care about Donald Trump. They are responding to straightforward economic incentives: As Facebook regularly reveals in earnings reports, a US Facebook user is worth about four times a user outside the US. The fraction-of-a-penny-per-click of US display advertising — a declining market for American publishers — goes a long way in Veles. Several teens and young men who run these sites told BuzzFeed News that they learned the best way to generate traffic is to get their politics stories to spread on Facebook — and the best way to generate shares on Facebook is to publish sensationalist and often false content that caters to Trump supporters.

11. Here’s What Syrians Think About Donald Trump And Hillary Clinton, November 2016

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Generally, Syrians are as divided on the US elections as they are among each other. Supporters of the regime often quietly root for Trump, who has praised the Assad regime’s primary patron Vladimir Putin and vowed to pull the US out of the Middle East. Supporters of the opposition hope for a win by Clinton, who has said she would press for a diplomatic solution that would lead to Assad’s ouster.

“Anyone sympathetic to the opposition will be pro-Hillary as they expect her to be more aggressive against Assad and more interventionist in general,” said Faysal Itani, a fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank. “This is reflected in all the related conversations I’ve had with pro-opposition Syrians. I imagine pro-regime people would favor Trump for those same reasons.”

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.