Diplomacy is a warm gun? It’s not quite what the Beatles sang about, but it seems to be what one Jordanian lawmaker was relying on to settle the score with his opponent on a live talk show last week. No shots were fired, but Mohammed Shawabka could be charged with attempted murder. He pulled out a silver pistol during a talk-show debate Thursday evening and pointed it in the direction of his opponent, political activist Mansour Seif-Eddine Murad.
The clash was sparked when Shawabka, a member of Jordan’s parliament, accused Murad of being a “spy” for Syrian president Bashar Assad. Shawabka took rather unkindly to Murad’s retort that he was an agent working for Israel’s Mossad security organization and a thief who “bought votes.” The heated rhetoric led Shawabka to bend down and remove his shoe, proceeding to hurl it at Murad. Murad deflected the shoe by flipping over his desk, and that’s when Shawabka stood up, unholstered his gun and began to brandish it as he and Murad bobbed and weaved around the studio. The show’s host Mohammed Habashna successfully broke up the scuffle, shoving the gun-wielding Shawabka off-stage.
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Middle Eastern TV audiences are no strangers to volatile talk show guests – according to the Associated Press, Arabic-language stations routinely have on debaters with diametrically opposed views in an attempt to stir up controversy. This isn’t the first time it’s backfired, either: last year on a Lebanese chat show, two rival politicians hurled curses, glasses of water, and – very nearly – a chair, before charging at each other. Thankfully, the show’s host broke up the fight before the opponents came to blows.