Betrayal Will Find Its Punishment

We will examine the consequences of treachery and betrayal.  Zahir Al-Umar Al-Zaydani (ظاهر العمر الزيداني) was a charismatic regional potentate who managed to carve out a fiefdom for himself in Palestine during the waning centuries of the Ottoman empire.  Born around 1690, he achieved ascendancy through the usual mix of piety, maneuvering, and ruthlessness; and by the 1730s he had acquired such power in Galilee that the Turkish authorities in Istanbul knew they needed to find a way to clip his wings.

Continue reading

Treachery Ensnares Some, But Is Defeated By Others

Every man who goes about his business must be attuned to the realities of his surroundings.  He should not close his eyes to what lies within his field of vision; and he must not delude himself by rationalizing the treacherous intentions of others.  The prudent man will not see plots and conspiracies everywhere, for this is the mentality of a craven fool; but he will still maintain a healthy alertness and awareness of his environment.  Such a policy might have saved the life of the camel in the tale that follows, as we will see.

Continue reading

Dealing With Treachery And Treason

Betrayal, treachery, and treason are among the most hated of crimes.  From antiquity until our own time, commanders have devised numerous ways to prevent or limit them.  Some examples are presented here.  The reader will discover that all of them involve either incentives or punishments; sometimes a mixture of the two is employed.  The Roman commander Frontinus, in his Stratagems (III.16), provides us with several examples.

Continue reading