Algeria Fires: Biden’s Refusal to Aid Kabylia


President Joe BidenForest fires raged through Kabylia in recent days, killing dozens of civilians and destroying hillsides of forest, sparking an appeal to President Joe Biden from the Kabyle government in exile – a request to protect the Kabyle people from “genocide” which Maghrebi learnt on August 1st appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

The Kabyle government is growing concerned that its own support for Joe Biden and his objectives in the region isn’t being reciprocated.

Just a day after Kabylia’s President Ferhat Mehenni’s July 23 speech to the Kabyle people praising Morocco and Israel for their accord on Western Sahara and condemning Algeria for its full pivot toward Russia, forest fires broke out once again in the breakaway republic in the northeastern mountainous region of Algeria. Mehenni, the President of the Kabyle Provisional Government-in-exile in France, wrote to President Joe Biden on July 26 seeking assistance, a letter seen by

“The Kabyle people once again are being subjected to the terror of the Algerian government,” Mehenni said in the letter. “While Kabylia is barely recovered from similar fires in 2021, Algeria refuses any international assistance to extinguish them. Instead, the regime is making a pretense of mobilizing relief efforts to give the impression of taking action, but that subterfuge is only to buy time and allow the fires to claim more Kabyle civilian victims and cause more devastation to Kabylia.”


Algeria’s latest fires


More than 40 people reportedly have died in the last week as a result of the blazing fires.  Without the capacity, equipment, or resources to fight such massive fires, the local authorities in Kabylia have had to rely on firefighting help from the Algerian authorities. And once again, that help was late in coming, according to people on the ground.

Abdelaziz Chibane, a waiter in his mid-30s who lives in the small village of Ait-Oussalah, told Qatar-friendly Middle East Eye that he wished he had died. Instead, he lost his sister, his sister-in-law, his cousins, and two nephews, Islam, age seven, and Aksel, age five, in the fire that came during the night. Nothing was spared, not the orchards, olive groves, his cousin’s livestock, not even the cemeteries. The residents said that the emergency services were absent and didn’t come until the next day, MEE reported.

Algiers continues to blame MAK for supposedly deliberately setting these fires in its own back yard yet has offered no evidence to support the claim either now or in 2021. But it has used this as an excuse to round people up. After making such claims in August 2021, the regime launched a big wave of arrests and detentions of activists, journalists, heads of Amazigh NGOs, including 27 alleged members of MAK, which it had designated a “terrorist organization” a few months earlier in May.

According to state media reports, the Algerian government has even admitted that police also abducted, disappeared, and detained activist Kamira Naït Sid, the Co-President of the World Amazigh Congress, an international NGO that defends the rights of the Amazigh people. She has been locked up in prison since then, tried in a sham proceeding, and forced to wear a hijab, according to one of her lawyers. Last month, although acquitted of certain charges, a court of appeals on July 4 (American Independence Day) added another three years to her sentence for “undermining the integrity of the national territory.”

MAK claims that it’s the Algerian military that has deliberately set the fires on orders from the regime in order to crush all dissent and opposition to the government and quell the Kabyle independence movement. It also argues that the fires are part of a program of genocide, dubbed internally in Algiers “Zero Kabyle,” implemented in 2019 to eradicate the Kabyle Berber identity when the regime banned the use of Kabyle and Amazigh flags when popular protests erupted in Kabylie and Algeria in February 2019.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

[mc4wp_form id="206"]