Salah ad-Deen al-Ayubi (Part-43)

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Thus Jekermish, by forming an alliance with Suqman, was able to play a major role in the history of the Crusades and, along with his allies, to present the Muslim world with its first decisive victory against the Crusaders. This was to pave the way for the emergence of leaders and Islamic alliances which would direct continual blows against the Crusader forces, starting with Mawdood, the Seljuk ruler of Mosul and ending with Salah ad-Deen, and including Ilghazi and Balak al-Artuqiyeen, Aq Sunqur al-Bursuqi, Imad adDeen Zangi and Noor ad-Deen Zangi.188

Jekermish persists in Jihad
In spite of some negative signs that followed the Muslim victory in Balikh, Jekermish continued to aspire to achieve other victories in this field. Less than two years later that became possible for him, when at the end of 499 AH/1106 CE, he received instructions from Sultan Muhammad to launch a new campaign against the Crusaders. He contacted local rulers and was able to form an alliance which included Radwan the ruler of Aleppo, Ilghazi al-Artuqi the ruler of Mardin, Albi Timurtash the ruler of Sinjar and al-Asbahadh Sawa, one of the rulers of Persia. However, what Ilghazi suggested to the aforementioned rulers delayed implementation of the suggested plan: he asked them to start their campaign by moving against Jekermish with the aim of capturing Mosul so as to earn the pleasure of Sultan Muhammad. This latter held a grudge against the ruler of Mosul because of his actions; moreover, there was the possibility of utilizing the financial and military resources of Mosul against the Crusaders. The leaders agreed to this and joined forces to attack Nusaybin, which belonged to the ruler of Mosul. However, the representatives of Jekermish in that city succeeded -” with instructions from their master in Mosul -” in provoking a rift between Radwan and Ilghazi. Radwan took the opportunity during a feast held before the walls of Nusaybin to kidnap Ilghazi and put him in chains. I lghazi's Turkmen followers managed to release him, and they launched a surprise attack against Radwan's camp, forcing him to withdraw to Aleppo. The breakdown of this alliance began to show before even a single step was taken towards its original aim of fighting the Crusaders,189 but none of that shook Jekermish's resolve to attack the real enemy. Once he had dealt with the efforts of these rulers allied against him, he hastened to launch an attack against Edessa. He overcame the attacks launched by the troops of Richard (of Salerno) who was ruling Edessa at that time on behalf of the imprisoned Baldwin. As soon as Jekermish returned to Mosul, however, he was faced with new troubles regarding the Seljuks. Only a short time passed before Kilij Arslan ibn Sulayman, the Sultan of the Seljuks of Rum, moved to attack Edessa, and the representatives of Jekermish in Harran took the opportunity to send word to him that they would surrender the city to him. Kilij Arslan arrived and entered Harran, and the people rejoiced at the Jihad against the Franks.190 He stayed there for several days, after which he had to return to his own land because of a severe illness that struck him, but he left behind a group of commanders in Harran to protect it.191 It seems that Kilij Arslan began to prevail because of the power, independence and influence over his counterparts among other Muslim rulers in the region that he enjoyed due to their ongoing disputes and conflicts aimed at achieving limited local victories. Moreover, the problems that Jekermish was facing in Mosul and the deterioration of his relationship with the Seljuks kept him from focusing fully on the Jihad against the Crusaders. This led to Kilij Arslan coming to the attention of Jekermish's representatives in Harran, who summoned him and surrendered the city to him. This explains what happened shortly afterwards, when Kilij Arslan was summoned by the people of Mosul so that he could rule them as well, after their ruler, Jekermish, was killed.192

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