|President Nureddin al-Atassi|
Preceded by Salah Wazzan
Prime Minister Yusuf Zuwayin
Name Abd al-Jundi
|Preceded by Jamil Haddad|
Party Ba'ath Party
President Amin al-Hafiz
Rank Lieutenant colonel
|Prime Minister Amin al-Hafiz
Died March 1969, Damascus, Syria
Abd al-Karim al-Jundi (Arabic: عبد الكريم الجندي) (b. 1932 – 2 March 1969) was a Syrian officer and a founding member of the Ba'ath Party's Military Committee which took over power in the country after the 1963 military coup. He also served as minister of agrarian reform, and commander of the national security bureau.
Al-Jundi was born to a small landowning family in the rural town of Salamiyah in the Hamah Governorate. Though Salamiyah was a predominantly Ismaili town, al-Jundi belonged to the Sunni minority of the area, and would in later life be known as 'an inciter of anti-Ismaili sentiments.' He received his military training at the Homs Military Academy.
Al-Jundi, like many members of his family, joined the Ba'ath Party early in his youth. In 1960 al-Jundi, then a captain in the army of the United Arab Republic (UAR), became a founding member of the secretive Military Committee of the Baath Party. In the beginning, the Military Committee's goal was to rebuild the Ba'ath Party, which had been dissolved on the orders of Gamal Abdel Nasser when the UAR was founded, and establish a new party leadership. Following the Syrian secessionist coup of 1961 that ended the UAR, the Military Committee started planning its own coup against the secessionist government.
On 8 March 1963, the Military Committee launched a successful coup against the government of Nazim al-Qudsi, bringing the Ba'ath Party to power in Syria. Following the coup, al-Jundi became a member of the National Council for the Revolutionary Command, and the Ba'ath Party Regional Command. Between 1963 and 1964, he served as commander of the Rocket Forces at al-Qutayfah.
Minister of Agrarian Reform
Between 4 October 1964 and 21 December 1965, al-Jundi served as minister of agrarian reform in the two successive cabinets of Amin al-Hafiz and Yusuf Zuwayin. Al-Jundi's tenure saw rapid state appropriation of agrarian land from traditional landowners. But he was opposed to the redistribution of the lands on small scales, and instead advocated collective farming. In 1966, Al-Jundi was again given the portfolio of agrarian reform in the Yusuf Zuwayin cabinet which lasted from 1 March to 15 October.
National Security Bureau
Following the 1966 coup d'état, Salah Jadid became the undisputed strongman of the country. He began his rule by re-organizing all the intelligence agencies under the central command of the Baath Party's National Security Bureau. Jadid appointed al-Jundi, his ally, to head the security bureau, which became known as the most intimidating apparatus in the country. The bureau, under al-Jundi, acquired a notorious reputation in the country for its brutal methods in rooting out opponents, including arbitrary arrests, torture and infiltrating society with state informers.
In early 1969 the power-struggle between Defence Minister Hafez al-Assad and Jadid became increasingly bitter and violent. As a result, al-Jundi's power and influence rapidly declined. He committed suicide on 2 March 1969 after an argument on the phone with chief of military intelligence Ali Zaza, after his own personal driver was arrested by Zaza's security forces loyal to al-Assad.