Moving Forward on Military Intervention in Mali

enemy of the dayAs
noted on Reason 24/7, the United Nations Security Council
unanimously approved a French-backed military intervention in Mali.
is for regional ECOWAS forces to enter in the north to
quell a Tuareg rebellion turned Islamist insurgency. Al-Qaeda is,
naturally, suspected of

Though the Tuareg are indigenous to northern Mali, where the
insurgency is spreading, the country was considered by USAID as
“one of the most enlightened democracies in Africa” as recently as

earlier this year
. The collapse of the Qaddafi regime in Libya,
with help from the West, created an influx of Libyan Tuareg
fighters, who Qaddafi had kept in his employ, as well as Islamists
fresh from the experience of toppling a government in Tripoli. The
Tuareg rebels in the north
declared independence
in April, a coup followed, and elections
scheduled for later that month never happened.

As a former French colony, the situation in Mali’s been closely
monitored in France, where the recently elected Socialist president
has been at the forefront of a push for military intervention,
sending surveillance drones last
. France and the U.S. (because Al-Qaeda!) have also been

pressuring Algeria
to back an intervention in Mali. U.S.
officials have been visiting all year long, with Hillary Clinton
going in October

While the U.S. is projecting a limited role in the now seemingly
imminent intervention in Mali, it did
earlier this month that it was
working closely
with West African countries in planning the
actual military operation. A few days later UN Ambassador Susan
Rice reportedly told other UN-based officials the plans for
intervention were “crap,”
the fear being the ECOWAS countries (led by Nigeria) did not have
the military resources or experience for a successful intervention.
The stage seems set for deeper involvement in a military
intervention moving forward not just by France but also the

In related news, the last of the French troops returned from
Afghanistan today,
with the French president declaring “mission