19 episódios

Interviews with attitude, tackling the big issues of our time with Mehdi Hasan.

Head to Head Al Jazeera English

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Interviews with attitude, tackling the big issues of our time with Mehdi Hasan.

    • video
    Blackwater's Erik Prince: Iraq, privatising wars, and Trump | Head to Head

    Blackwater's Erik Prince: Iraq, privatising wars, and Trump | Head to Head

    In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of Blackwater, on his security firm’s performance during the Iraq war, the “exit strategy” he’s proposing for the war in Afghanistan, and his support for US President Donald Trump.

    During the early years of the Bush administration’s so-called ‘War on Terror’, Blackwater grew into one of the most profitable private military contractors in the US. Over the years, it received over a billion dollars’ worth of government contracts to provide security to top US officials, train members of the Iraqi army and police, and support the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Department of Defense’s counternarcotics programme in Afghanistan.

    But following the 2007 Nisour Square incident where Blackwater employees shot and killed 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians at a traffic circle, the firm and its founder shot to international notoriety, highlighting the clear dangers of using armed military contractors on the battlefield.

    Prince, a former US Navy SEAL, has since been channeling his efforts to train security personnel abroad, including most recently in China, where he launched the Hong Kong-based Frontier Services Group, a security and logistics company.

    He’s also offered a proposal to end the costly, ongoing US-led war in Afghanistan – the longest in US history – by privatising the bulk of it: replacing thousands of US troops with private contractors and sending NATO forces home. But is he really the man to bring peace to the war-torn country?

    In front of the Oxford Union audience, we challenge Prince on the record of his private contractors in the Iraq war and ask him to explain how his controversial plan for the conflict in Afghanistan would bring it to an end. We’ll also ask Prince, who previously served as an informal advisor to President Trump and has been interviewed by both the US House Intelligence Committee and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, about his ties to the current administration.

    We are joined by a panel of three experts:

    Sean McFate, a former private military contractor, former officer in the US army, and author of the book, The New Rules of War.

    Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, an award-winning Guardian journalist from Iraq who’s covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and beyond.

    Tim Collins, a former commander in the British Army and co-founder of the private military consulting company, New Century.

    This episode will be broadcast March 8 at 20:00 GMT and will be repeated on March 9 at 12:00 GMT, March 10 at 01:00GMT and March 11 at 06:00 GMT.

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    Watch previous Head to Head episodes here: https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/episodes.html

    Head to Head is Al Jazeera's forum for ideas, a gladiatorial contest tackling big issues such as faith, nationalism, democracy and foreign intervention, in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union.

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    • 49 min
    • video
    Has #MeToo failed? | Head to Head

    Has #MeToo failed? | Head to Head

    In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges public intellectual and feminist icon Germaine Greer on why she criticises the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault.

    When the Harvey Weinstein scandal erupted in Hollywood in October 2017, a tsunami of accusations of sexual harassment and assault followed, accompanied by a hashtag: #MeToo.

    Dozens of high-profile men have been implicated in the campaign, which rapidly morphed into a global phenomenon, crossing industries and borders and reaching the powerful.

    Many feminists see #MeToo as a seismic shift, but Greer has questioned the value and efficacy of the movement, arguing that "there hasn't been a reckoning ... it actually didn't get anywhere. And it has a downside as well, which is presenting women as victims".

    Greer has been one of the world's most influential feminist voices since the 1970 publication of her bestselling The Female Eunuch. She has also come under fire for her provocative remarks on subjects ranging from rape to transgender identity.

    "When somebody tells me that you're more likely to suffer PTSD as a rape victim than you are as a veteran of foreign wars, something has gone seriously wrong," Greer told the audience at Oxford Union.

    We ask her why she thinks #MeToo has gone nowhere, and also challenge some of her more incendiary statements.

    We are joined by a panel of three experts:

    Laurie Penny - award-winning journalist and feminist activist, contributing editor at the New Statesman, and author of Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults.

    Minna Salami - feminist writer and speaker and founder of the award-winning pan-African feminist blog MsAfropolitan.

    Zoe Strimpel - journalist, author, historian of gender and relationships and research fellow at the University of Sussex.

    Has #MeToo failed? with Germaine Greer will be broadcast on August 10 at 20:00 GMT and will be repeated on August 11 at 12:00 GMT, August 12 at 01:00 GMT and August 13 at 06:00 GMT.

    Head to Head is Al Jazeera's forum for ideas, a gladiatorial contest tackling big issues such as faith, nationalism, democracy and foreign intervention in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union.

    More from Head to Head on:

    YouTube - http://aje.io/headtoheadYT
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    Twitter - http://twitter.com/AJHeadToHead
    Website - http://aljazeera.com/headtohead

    - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
    - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
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    - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

    • 48 min
    • video
    Is it time to rethink democracy? | Head to Head

    Is it time to rethink democracy? | Head to Head

    In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges the renowned economist and thinker Dambisa Moyo on why she believes liberal democracy is under siege and requires a radical overhaul.

    The best-selling author first made waves with her book Dead Aid where she argued that foreign aid was preserving poverty in Africa instead of relieving it.

    Now, the former Goldman Sachs banker and World Bank consultant is taking on an even bigger target: liberal democracy.

    In recent years, the West has been said to be in crisis. The election of Donald Trump in the United States, the UK's Brexit vote and the rise of far-right parties across Europe have all been cited as evidence of the failures of the current political system.

    In her new book, Edge of Chaos, Moyo provides her own diagnosis for the recent rise in populism and provides a radical blueprint for change.

    "The notion that democracy is not a problem is mad. It's crazy".

    Dambisa Moyo,

    We challenge her on whether her plans to save it - by giving some voters more power than others - will end up killing democracy instead. We also ask if economic growth is more important than political freedom.

    Speaking about China and its economic model, Moyo commented how "over 300 million people have been moved out of poverty in 30 years" and suggested that the West should be careful not to "point fingers" when commenting on the country's democratic record, which was on its own particular "path".

    We are joined by a panel of three experts:

    Jason Hickel, anthropologist at University of London and author of The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions.

    Ann Pettifor, author of The Production of Money and one of only a handful of economists who correctly predicted the financial crisis.

    Jamie Whyte, director of research at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and a former New Zealand politician and philosophy lecturer.

    Is it time to rethink democracy? with Dambisa Moyo will be broadcast on August 3 at 20:00 GMT and will be repeated on August 4 at 12:00 GMT, August 5 at 01:00 GMT and August 6 at 06:00 GMT.

    Head to Head is Al Jazeera's forum for ideas, a gladiatorial contest tackling the big issues such as faith, nationalism, democracy and foreign intervention in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union.

    More from Head to Head on:

    YouTube - http://aje.io/headtoheadYT
    Facebook - http://facebook.com/AJHeadToHead
    Twitter - http://twitter.com/AJHeadToHead
    Website - http://aljazeera.com/headtohead

    - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
    - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
    - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
    - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

    • 48 min
    • video
    Trump: Global threat or new world order? | Head to Head

    Trump: Global threat or new world order? | Head to Head

    In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges former Trump campaign national security director, JD Gordon, on allegations of collusion with Russia, the US president's foreign policy agenda and what it was like to work for the former reality TV star.

    While advising Donald Trump, Gordon helped craft the president's national security and foreign policy agenda.

    He has been subject to the investigation of the Russian government's alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

    On this matter, he has testified before the Department of Justice and in front of congressional intelligence committees.

    We challenged Gordon on everything from the president's reported falsehoods to North Korea, Iran and the Trump Tower meeting between top Trump aides and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in 2016.

    Before working with Trump, Gordon served as a Pentagon spokesman, a campaign adviser to two other Republican presidential candidates and worked under defence secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates.

    He also spent 20 years in the US Navy and is now a regular contributor to Fox News and The Washington Times, among others.

    During the exclusive interview, we also asked Gordon about Trump's understanding of complex foreign policy issues, his perceived hostility to foreigners and, if nearly two years after working on Trump's campaign, he still stands by the president.

    We are joined by a panel of three experts:

    Ellie Geranmayeh, senior policy fellow for the Middle East and North Africa Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations

    David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist and the author of The Making of Donald Trump; and It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America

    Marc Porter, adviser to the Trump/Pence 2020 re-election campaign and president of Republicans Overseas France

    Trump: Global threat or new world order? with JD Gordon will be broadcast on July 27 at 20:00 GMT and will be repeated on July 28 at 12:00 GMT, July 29 at 01:00 GMT and July 30 at 06:00 GMT.

    Head to Head is Al Jazeera's forum for ideas, a gladiatorial contest tackling big issues in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union.

    More from Head to Head on:

    YouTube - http://aje.io/headtoheadYT
    Facebook - http://facebook.com/AJHeadToHead
    Twitter - http://twitter.com/AJHeadToHead
    Website - http://aljazeera.com/headtohead

    - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
    - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
    - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
    - Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/

    • 49 min
    • video
    Gaza Killings: Who is to blame? | Head to Head

    Gaza Killings: Who is to blame? | Head to Head

    In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges Danny Ayalon on whether Israel is responsible for the recent killings of Palestinians following months of protests along the Gaza fence.

    Formerly a deputy foreign minister to Israel and ambassador to the United States, Ayalon has been a key player and trusted adviser in Israel's foreign policy for more than two decades.

    He has been a political adviser to three prime ministers - Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak and, most recently, Bejamin Netanyahu.

    As the region marks the 70th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel, which led to the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians in what is referred to as the "Nakba" or "catastrophe", we challenge him on whether Israel's shooting of Palestinian protesters is moral or legal.

    We also examine whether Iran is more or less of a threat since the US withdrew from the nuclear deal and if Netanyahu is undermining Israel's democracy by attempting to curtail civil rights and pushing the country to the far right.

    We are joined by a panel of three experts:

    Avi Shlaim, renowned Israeli-British historian and emeritus professor at Oxford University.

    Paul Charney, chairman of the UK Zionist Federation.

    Diana Buttu, Israeli-Palestinian lawyer and former adviser to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

    Editor's note: Since the recording of this programme, an investigation by Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem concluded that Israeli security forces "deliberately killed" Palestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar at a protest along the Gaza fence. The episode was also recorded just before Knesset passed the controversial "Jewish nation-state" law on July 19.

    Gaza Killings: Who is to blame? with Danny Ayalon will be broadcast on July 20 at 20:00 GMT and will be repeated on July 21 at 12:00 GMT, July 22 at 01:00 GMT and July 22 at 06:00 GMT.

    Head to Head is Al Jazeera's forum for ideas, a gladiatorial contest tackling big issues in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union.

    More from Head to Head on:

    YouTube - http://aje.io/headtoheadYT
    Facebook - http://facebook.com/AJHeadToHead
    Twitter - http://twitter.com/AJHeadToHead
    Website - http://aljazeera.com/headtohead

    - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
    - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
    - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
    - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

    • 49 min
    • video
    Head to Head - Should the US be neutral on Israel-Palestine? promo

    Head to Head - Should the US be neutral on Israel-Palestine? promo

    Mehdi Hasan goes head to head with former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, on whether the US has been an honest broker in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    More from Head to Head on:

    YouTube - http://aje.io/headtoheadYT
    Facebook - http://facebook.com/AJHeadToHead
    Twitter - http://twitter.com/AJHeadToHead
    Website - http://aljazeera.com/headtohead

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