Last Friday France sent troops into Mali “with the aim of halting the Islamists’ advance south.” And it seems for the past week that whenever there has been a headline about insurgency in Mali, increasing French support has been the bulk of the article. Even today, more troops were sent into the country by France as the fighting continued, reportedly increasing the number from 800 to roughly 2,500. President Francois Hollande has said that France’s ultimate goals are “to stop the terrorist aggression… make Bamako safe… and enable Mali to recover its territorial integrity.” In addition, West African troops are also being sent in from Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Benin, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Guinea, Togo, and Burkina Faso. It seems that the southern nations of Mali’s region are making a statement.
So where does the United States fit into all of this? From a U.S. point of view it is interesting to be on the sideline of a terrorist intervention, for usually the U.S. is the acting forerunner in these situations. For an interesting op-ed on why the U.S. and Algeria should back the french support, read this.