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TV debate goes wrong as Iraqi tribal sheikh removes microphone throws it away

Published: Updated:

During a moderated debate on Al Arabiya TV Friday, an Iraqi tribal leader from the restive Sunni province of Anbar burst with anger at a female lawmaker from the political party of Prime Minister Muri al-Maliki.

The man, Sheikh Ali Hatem Suleiman, was angered when Member of Parliament Hanan al-Fatlawi stated that he does not speak for anti-Maliki protesters in Anbar.

The female MP recalled when Sheikh Ali was member of her political party, saying he used to live in a house owned by Iraq’s chief of staff and that he had 30 bodyguards who were all on the payroll of the government.

She further claimed that he used to praise and glorify the government day and night. But when it was no longer in his interest, he turned against the government and considered it his enemy.

Appeared deeply provoked Sheikh Ali burst out, saying that Hanan and a quarter of her political party came from abroad, in reference to Iran.

“You should be ashamed of yourselves, a quarter of you came from a broad and you sold Iraq,” he said.

“We don't know you; who are you? we don’t know your origins. We are not leaders of parties or militias, we are tribal leader and we speak for the people.” He said.

Unexpectedly then, Sheikh Ali removed his microphone and threw it away, in an incident that highlights the deep divisions between the Shiite-backed central government and the Iraqi Sunni population.