"[On] a normal day, we see massacres and a lot of airstrikes," one man said, speaking in Arabic. "What has become not normal ... is if you don't hear any attacks, if you don't hear bullets being fired, if you don't see any signs of war -- this is something we're not used to. We've become used to war."
President Barack Obama won election in 2008 promising an end to "dumb wars," and since then, he's vowed to avoid major troop commitments. Yet, even after all the fallout from recent interventions -- including, more recently, the spread of ISIS terrorism to Europe -- foreign policy hawks keep pushing Obama to send ground troops to Syria.
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.