Abd al-Karim al-Jundi

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Abd al-Karim al-Jundi
عبد الكريم الجندي
Abd al-Karim Jundi.jpg
Abd al-Karim al-Jundi, 1966
Minister of Agrarian Reform
In office
1 March 1966 – 15 October 1966
President Nureddin al-Atassi
Prime Minister Yusuf Zuwayin
Preceded by Jamil Haddad
In office
4 October 1964 – 21 December 1965
President Amin al-Hafiz
Prime Minister Amin al-Hafiz
Yusuf Zuayyin
Preceded by Salah Wazzan
Succeeded by Jamil Haddad
Head of the National Security Bureau of the Syrian Regional Branch
In office
27 March 1966 – 13 March 1969
Succeeded by Naji Jamil
Member of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
In office
27 March 1966 – 13 March 1969
In office
1 August 1965 – 19 December 1965
In office
1 February 1964 – 4 April 1965
Personal details
Born 1932
Salamiyah, French Mandate of Syria
Died 2 March 1969 (aged 37)
Damascus, Syria
Political party Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party (1952–1966)
Syrian-led Ba'ath Party (Syrian branch: 1966–1969)
Military service
Rank Lieutenant colonel
Commands Commander of the Rocket Forces at al-Qutayfah (1963–1964)

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.


Early life[edit]

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.'[1] He received his military training at the Homs Military Academy.[2]

Ba'ath Party[edit]

Al-Jundi, like many members of his family, joined the Ba'ath Party early in his youth.[2] 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.[note 1] 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.[4] Following the Syrian secessionist coup of 1961 that ended the UAR, the Military Committee started planning its own coup against the secessionist government.[5]

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.[6] Between 1963 and 1964, he served as commander of the Rocket Forces at al-Qutayfah.[7]

Minister of Agrarian Reform[edit]

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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

National Security Bureau[edit]

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.[11] Jadid appointed al-Jundi, his ally, to head the security bureau, which became known as the most intimidating apparatus in the country.[12] The bureau, under al-Jundi, acquired a notorious reputation in the country for its brutal methods in rooting out opponents,[13] including arbitrary arrests, torture and infiltrating society with state informers.[14]


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.[15]



  1. ^ The other founding members were Hafez al-Assad, Salah Jadid, Ahmad al-Mir and Muhammad Umran.[3]


  1. ^ http://drsc-sy.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/The-Conflict-in-the-Town-of-Salamiya-A-Model-for-the-Formation-of-Mafias-in-Syria.pdf
  2. ^ a b Batatu, 1999, p. 153.
  3. ^ Seale, 1990, p. 62.
  4. ^ Seale, 1990, p. 63.
  5. ^ Seale, 1990, p. 80.
  6. ^ Moubayed, 2006, p. 61.
  7. ^ Batatu, 1999, p. 147.
  8. ^ Rabinovich, 1972, p. 221.
  9. ^ Batatu, 1999, p. 163.
  10. ^ Rabinovich, 1972, p. 224.
  11. ^ Kahana; Suwaed, 2009, p. 294.
  12. ^ Paul, 1990, p. 48.
  13. ^ Paul, 1990, p. 38.
  14. ^ Seale, 1990, p. 150.
  15. ^ Seale, 1990, p. 151.