Nineteen years ago as a young Syrian immigrant in Canada, I attended the Toronto film festival. It was the first film festival that I ever attended, and I was mesmerized by the crowds, the show, the stars, the glamor and the entire spectacle. That first film festival is still imprinted in my mind. It was a beautiful evening.
In recent years, Turkey and Qatar have found much common ground on a host of foreign policy issues. Both Ankara and Doha have sponsored a variety of Sunni Islamist groups, seen as conduits for their geopolitical influence in the fluid Middle East. However, both countries have experienced setbacks from their engagement in some of the region's conflicts, most notably in Syria.
BEIRUT -- In Syria, Putin is trying to force the issue of Russia's place in the world today, to burst free from the post-war situation in which Russia found itself trapped. It is a gamble, because the gesture itself -- if successful -- will shape the Middle East and global geopolitics much more widely.
The Party of Putin does not know, or pretend not to know, that Putin is an empire builder surrounded by ideologues whose vision of the world, though complex and robust, is in all key respects opposed to that of the West. They place right and law in the service of strength and force, rather than vice versa, prioritize order over liberty and treat gay people and other "deviants" as the quintessence of a decadent West, emasculated by the poison of cosmopolitanism.
Russia's intervention in Syria has introduced a dangerous new dynamic into an already volatile and complex conflict. Rather than advancing its self-proclaimed objective of fighting terrorism, many more Russian strikes have targeted moderate rebels -- "vetted" and supported by the United States -- as well as other expressly Syrian opposition groups backed variously by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.