Salah ad-Deen al-Ayubi (Part-130)



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He was sent ostensibly to us but secretly to them, showing to us a friendly face that we never trusted, and discussing with them offers of help in doing evil of which we were always aware. The Fatimids and Egyptian troops at that time exchanged many messengers and letters with the Franks.673

6- Salah ad-Deen's policy during this period, if one of his helpers had some doubts about some group, was to arrest them, and if he could not prove anything at all against them, he would let them go, but this pardon only increased them in viciousness, and kind treatment only increased them in hardheartedness.674

7- At the same time, the conspirators made contact with Shaykh al- Jabal Sinan (the "Old Man of the Mountain"),675 the leader of the Nizari Ismailis of Syria, seeking his help on the basis that their cause was the same and there should be unity, and that the differences between them should not cause division or make them refrain from supporting one another.676 They asked him in particular to assassinate the "kings" as was their custom, or to plot against them. The messenger who went to them was the maternal uncle of Ibn Qarjalah,677 one of the former officials of the Fatimid state. It seems that both men were with Shaykh al-Jabal when the conspiracy was discovered, and they sought refuge with the Crusaders.678

8- We do not know whether the conspirators contacted the king of Sicily to send the fleet directly, or via the king of the Crusaders, but the fleet came to Alexandria after the conspiracy had failed; it was composed of 200 ships which were carrying a large number of cavalry and infantry, and was subjected to heavy losses, especially since King Amalric did not come by land as agreed because the conspirators had all been captured.679

9- On the final occasion, George brought a letter to the court of Salah ad-Deen and a letter came to the intelligence department, from a trusted Crusader source, mentioning that he (George) was a messenger of deceit and not a messenger of diplomacy. Salah ad-Deen's officials took the appropriate precautions and kept watch on him without him realizing, and without them making him feel that he was under any suspicion. George started contacting the group from the Fatimid palace, conspirators and commanders of the former Fatimid troops, and some of the Christians and Jews. Then the officials of Salah ad-Deen's state managed to plant a spy in their group, one of their sect who was an insider,680 and he began to "transmit information to us about them and keep us up to date about their situation."681

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