Amir Taheri, Iranian journalist and author of 10 books on Islam and the politics of the Middle East; Bayan Rahman, journalist at the Financial Times and chairman of the Kurdistan Development Corporation; and Lt Col Tim Spicer, CEO of Aegis Defence Services, a British Private Security Company, spoke against the motion.
The debate, held on January 17, 2005, was chaired by James Naughtie, presenter of Today on BBC Radio 4. His most recent book is The Accidental American, an account of the relationship between Tony Blair and George W. Bush.
Intelligence Squared is London's leading forum for live debate, holding regular debates on the crucial issues of the day and inviting the leading intellectual and political lights on the given subject to participate in them. The format of the debates is modeled on the one employed at the Oxford and Cambridge university Unions: a challenging, sharply defined motion; a team of speakers to propose the motion and a like number to oppose it; and a moderator to keep the speakers and the audience in order and force everyone to stick to the issues. After the main speeches and before summation, contributions are asked from the floor: audience participation is a key feature of the occasion, providing a rare opportunity for the public to voice their opinions and to challenge those of the speakers. A vote is taken before the debate begins and then again at the end so as to give a measure, often a very dramatic one, of the extent to which the audience has been swayed by the oratory and arguments of the speakers in the course of the evening.
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