When politics turns physical: notorious parliamentary fights in the Middle East

Video of brawl in Jordanian parliament's went viral this week

Kuwaiti Shiite and Sunni MPs fight during a heated parliament debate over inmates in the US Guantanamo detention centre in Kuwait City on May 18, 2011 amid rising sectarian tension in the Gulf state. AFP PHOTO/YASSER AL-ZAYYAT
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A fistfight broke out in the Jordanian parliament on Tuesday during heated arguments about disputed amendments to the country's constitution, at least one of which involved women's rights.

The scuffle resurfaced memories of past incidents in the region that made headlines, including verbal differences of opinions that turned violent. One argument even involved an MP firing an assault rifle.

Here are some of the most memorable parliamentary fracas.

Shoe/sandal fight erupts in Kuwait’s National Assembly

A heated argument led to a fight in Kuwait’s National Assembly in 2016 that involved members of parliament throwing their shoes and sandals at one other.

The argument started when MP Hamdan Al Azmi spoke of his opposition to the government presenting an amendment to the distribution of electoral constituencies in the new municipal law at the time.

Mr Al Azmi then accused the government of discriminating against Kuwaiti communities and accused the parliament of not being impartial towards the government.

This led MPs Ali Al-Khamis and Sultan Al-Gaitham to confront Mr Al Azmi and the three started shouting insults at one other, as well as throwing their sandals.

Jordanian MP pulls out AK-47 rifle during session

A disagreement between Jordanian MPs resulted in one member firing an automatic rifle at a fellow legislator during a parliament session in 2013.

MP Talal Al Sharif pulled out an AK-47 rifle and shot at fellow MP Qusay Dmisa during a public session of Jordan’s parliament. Mr Dmisa was not injured in the shooting. Mr Al Sharif was arrested and a special session later held to examine the incident.

Iraq MPs throw water bottles and punches in parliament

Iraqi legislators resorted to throwing water bottles and punches at each other a day after a vote on a new government was postponed in 2016.

The chaotic incident came after Haider Al Abadi, who was prime minister at the time, drafted a list of new ministerial nominees following pressure from his supporters and an influential Shiite cleric.

The scuffles broke out between the protesting legislators and others who tried to continue the previous day’s session.

Shouting match erupts in Lebanon parliament

An MP from Lebanon's Future Movement traded insults with his colleague from the Baath Party at the Lebanese parliament in 2011 over comments related to the unrest in neighbouring Syria.

An argument erupted between Future Movement MP Khaled Daher and Baath Party MP Assem Qanso during a parliament session to discuss the policy statement by Lebanon’s new Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Jordanian MP pulls gun on activist on live television

Jordanian representative Mohammed Shawabka gained international notoriety on July 5, 2012 in a debate with political activist and former MP Mansour Sayf Al Din Murad on television and brandished a gun during a heated exchange.

The debate escalated into a stand-off clash on live television while the pair discussed the situation in Syria. Each traded insults, calling the other a "big crook" and a "Mossad agent", before Mr Shawabka pulled his gun from a holster.

Updated: December 30th 2021, 2:29 PM