A recent debate between a Lebanese Islamist leader and a former Syrian lawmaker on Lebanese television devolved into violence mere moments after it began, with the pair cursing and assaulting each other as staff tried to intervene.
A clip of the fight was uploaded by OTV to its YouTube channel on July 10, and translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
The OTV program began in a civil manner, with the host introducing his two guests and offering his condolences to former MP Ahmad Shlash — a supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad — whose cousin had been executed by Islamic State a day earlier.
The host then made the mistake of asking his Lebanese guest, cleric and Assad critic Bilal Daqmaq, if he would also like to say a word to Shlash.
An irritable-looking Daqmaq replied only that he would “extend my condolences to the Syrian people for anyone killed.”
Apparently unsatisfied with the carefully worded response, Shlash cut him off: “Brother, he asked you a straight question: Are you extending me condolences or not?”
Daqmaq shot back: “It’s none of your business.”
Shlash, incredulous, asked how it could “possibly be none of my business?!”
The two promptly shouted at each other to shut up, followed by name calling. Then, practically simultaneously, the pair took the verbal abuse into physical territory, with Shlash throwing his chair back and lunging at Daqmaq while the latter grabbed his glass of water and hurled it at Shlash.
The two then grabbed each other and began brawling, hitting nearby screens and a chair before falling to the ground fighting.
A clip from several moments later showed staff attempting to separate the two, not entirely successfully. Daqmaq was seen grabbing a second glass and aiming its contents at Shlash. However, he succeeded only in inadvertently drenching the unfortunate moderator, who was attempting to restrain him at the time.