BEIRUT -- A Jordanian lawmaker has landed in hot water after he drew a gun, Wild West-style (though without firing) and tossed a shoe at a critic during a live television debate about the crisis in neighboring Syria.
According to local Jordanian media reports, ex-lawmaker Mansour Murad is planning to file charges of attempted murder against Mohammed Shawabka, a member of the Jordan's parliament, over the incident.
The TV debate (see video below) between the parliamentarian and the politician, reported to have aired Friday on the private satellite channel JoSat, began with harsh words and trading of insults in high-pitched voices. The escalation starts around 1.30 minutes into the tape.
The moderator, seen in the middle, seeks to constantly separate his two firebrand guests but appears to lose control over the situation when Shawabka accuses Murad of being a spy for the Syrian government. Murad replies by saying that Shawabka is an Israeli spy and "a mafia thief" who "bought people's votes." And then he curses Shawabka's father.
That's when Shawabka completely loses his temper and spirals out of control. He reaches down to hurl a shoe at his opponent -- the classic Arabic insult. Murad manages to dodge it by turning over his desk. Shawabka then whips a small silver-colored pistol from his waistline, waving it in the direction of his critic.
There has been no comment from the Jordanian government as yet, reports the English-language daily Jordan Times.
Shawabka, however, has defended his behavior, telling Jordanian news agency Gerasa News that Murad started attacking members of the Jordanian government, calling them “corrupt parasites," according to pan-Arab TV station Al-Arabiya.
Friday's incident is not the first in which Arab officials are caught on tape behaving badly in debates about Syria. In November last year, pens, paper and a glass of water flew through the air as a heated debate between two Lebanese officials turned physical during a live television talk show.
-- Alexandra Sandels