Jordanian MP pulls gun, raises bar for bad parliamentary behavior

Clausewitz said that war is the extension of politics by other means. But Jordanian lawmaker Mohammed Shawabka seems to have gotten the Prussian military strategist's aphorism backwards. Last Thursday, Shawabka heaved his shoe and then pointed a pistol at Mansour Seif-Eddine Murad, an activist-turned-politician, during a televised debate about the violence in Syria.  

According to The National the two traded insults on Jordanian satellite channel Jo Sat with Murad eventually accusing Shawabka of being an Israeli Mossad agent and a thief. Violence quickly ensued:

"Mr Shawabka first threw his shoe at Mr Murad, who dodged with aplomb, and then pulled a gun. Furniture toppled as the show's host desperately tried to separate the two. And then the credits rolled."

On Monday, the AP reported that Shawabka is being investigated for his role in the altercation. According to the prosecutor, Shawabka could be charged with attempted murder, although he conceded that this might be a stretch because the lawmaker did not appear to take aim at his fellow debater.

The incident ups the ante on what has already been an exciting year for parliamentary antics. In June, former parliamentarian and current spokesman for Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party Ilias Kasidiaris grew enraged during a televised debate and threw water on one guest before slapping another in the face repeatedly.

Only weeks before a brawl broke out in the Ukrainian parliament as lawmakers debated a bill that would make Russian and "equal" second language in roughly half of the country. According to the New York Times, the so-called "rumble in Rada" left "at least one opposition politician bloodied and saw another flipped over a banister, his feet flailing in the air."

In Lebanon things heated up in November 2011, when Mustafa Alloush from the pro-Western Future Movement and Fayez Shukr of the Baath Arab Socialist Party began hurling insults-as well as water, pens, and paper-across the table from one another as they discussed the Syrian situation on Lebanese TV.

In recent years, parliamentarians have also come to fisticuffs in Somalia, Iraq, South Korea, Czech Republic, Bolivia, Argentina, Georgia, Taiwan, and Nigeria, To my knowledge, however, Jordan's Mohammed Shawabka is the only one who has introduced firearms into the mix.   


No Olympics for Kosovo

The fledgling country's EU-esque flag will not be making the rounds in London's Olympic Stadium on June 27, RFE/RL reports, a major diasppointment to athletes like table tennis player Azari Blerta, shown above:

Kosovo had hoped to send a team of six athletes to the London 2012 Summer Games. But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in May rejected the country's application to participate in the July games.

Although 91 countries have recognized Kosovo, a former province of Serbia that declared its independence in 2008, it has not gained admission to the United Nations.

Malesor Gjonbalaj, an adviser to Kosovo's minister of culture, youth, and sport, says his government feels the IOC decision was arbitrary.

"The Olympic Charter says a country must be recognized by the international community. This notion can be interpreted anyway one pleases," Gjonbalaj says.

The IOC's decision does seem a bit arbitrary as Kosovo is already recognized by the international federations of a number of sports including table tennis, weightlifting, archery, judo, sailing, and now boxing. Soccer association FIFA recently ruled that its members could play friendly matches with Kosovo, prompting protests from the Serbian government.

On the political front the International Steering Group of 25 countries recently agreed to stop supervising Kosovo's independence, another step toward full sovereignty. Olympic participation is clearly not limited only to universally-recognized U.N.-member states, as the Palestinian team has competed in every Olympics since 1996.

This year, judoka Maher Abu Remeleh will become the first Palestinian athlete to earn a spot at the games based on athletic prowess alone, rather than special invitation. The only Kosovar athlete in London will be Majlinda Kelmendi -- also in judo -- who will fight on behalf of Albania.