Photo of Krim Belkacem
|Died||October 18, 1970 (aged 48)|
|Other names||Si Rabah|
|Known for||Algerian war, Évian Accords|
Krim was born in the village of Aït Yahia Moussa (now in Tizi Ouzou Province) in the Berber-speaking Kabylie region of Algeria. During the Second World War, he joined the French Army, and was promoted corporal in the First Algerian Sharpshooter Regiment, reputedly becoming an excellent shot. Demobilized on October 4, 1945, he returned to his home village, where he took up a bureaucratic post. Krim joined the underground Algerian People's Party at the beginning of 1946, setting up clandestine cells in 12 villages around Draa el-Mizan. Accused of the murder of a forest warden in 1947, he was hunted and he joined the maquis under the Pseudonym of Si Rabah with Moh Nachid, Mohand Talah and Messaoud Ben Arab. Twice sentenced to death by French tribunals in 1947 and 1950, he became the Kabylie responsible of the PPA-MTLD paramilitary organization founded in February 1947 by Messali Hadj, the Organisation Spéciale, at the head of 22 members of the resistance (maquisards).
During the Algerian War of Independence, Krim was chief of the FLN's 3rd Wilaya, Kabylie and its surrounding area. After his important role at the Soummam Congress--in which the FLN formalized its revolutionary program--Krim became one of the most important and powerful of all the FLN chiefs. Belkacem, who left Algeria after the Battle of Algiers, formed an alliance with Lakhdar Ben Tobbal and Abdelhafid Boussouf against Abane Ramdane. He was the first to be Minister of Defense, then Foreign Minister, in the provisional Government of the Algerian republic (GPRA) in 1958, and later the principal Algerian negotiator of the agreements of Évian in March 1962. Belkacem was in opposition to the creation of the Political Bureau of the FLN in July 1962 by Ahmed Ben Bella, Colonel Houari Boumedienne, and Mohamed Khider.
After the June 19, 1965 takeover by the Political Bureau, he returned to opposition, favouring more federalist views than Boumedienne's centralist policies. Accused of having organized an assassination attempt against Boumedienne, he was sentenced to death in absentia. He was found assassinated in 1970 in a hotel room in Frankfurt, West Germany. Belkacem was posthumously rehabilitated by the Algerian state by being buried in the Martyrs Square at the El Alia Cemetery on October 24, 1984. Krim Belkacem Airport in Hassi Messaoud was named after him.