Ali bin Ahmad Jarjarai
Ali bin Ahmad Jarjarai came from a small town south of Baghdad. He came to Egypt and entered the service of Sitt al-Mulk, before becoming secretary to the police chief of Cairo. He was convicted of disloyalty when he opened letters of the secret services in 1013, as a result of which his hands were cut off. However the Caliph Al-Hakim soon regretted this harsh punishment, and took him back into the palace and promoted him to high office. After the death of Al-Hakim he administered the private estate of the regent Sitt al-Mulk and after she died in 1023 took over control of the state finances.
In the ensuing years Al-Jarjarai exercised power as one of a group of favourites of Ali az-Zahir, while the kingdom was shaken by a severe famine and a Bedouin revolt in Syria and Palestine. By 1028 he had eliminated his rivals and took the position of Vizir.
After the pacification of Syria by Anushtegin ad-Duzbirir he concerned himself with improving relations with the Byzantine Empire. A ceasefire had been in place since 1027, and after fresh fighting in 1036 a peace treaty was agreed. The main point of contention was the suzerainty over the Emirate of the Mirdasids in Aleppo, which both powers made claim to. In practice a kind of dual control came into operation.