France's UN ambassador, Gerard Araud, called it premature to say when military operations will begin. African and Malian troops must be trained, he said. Much depends on political considerations.
Extreme weather may intervene. In late March, monsoon season begins. It lasts months.
Timbuktu's Mayor Halle Cisse asked for "rapid military action to liberate our cities."
"There is no school. There is no work and no money," he added. "We are fed up with this situation." Timbuktu depends on tourism. Conflict keeps people away.
Media scoundrel fear mongering said Islamists imposed sharia law. Managed news misreporting made lurid claims. Propaganda substitutes for truth. Claims about banned public male/female socializing were featured.
Other accounts stressed attacking bars selling alcohol, recruiting child fighters, stonings, whippings, beheadings, amputations, and other punishments against non-believers.
Public sentiment is being prepared for intervention. US-style responsibility to protect (R2P) perhaps plans Libya 2.0 light.
For months, France and Washington held secret intervention talks. Rousting "Islamist militants" is pretext. So is waging war on terror. Resource control is policy.
Thursday's resolution welcomed ECOWAS troop pledges. It called for member states' help. Chad, Mauritania and Niger were asked to contribute. Their troops have desert warfare experience.
Resolution language stressed two-track planning. Political and military were called for.
US and French special forces operate in Mali. They're active in other regional countries. They conduct covert operations. They're training Malian forces. Stepped up efforts are planned.
AFRICOM head General Carter Ham called Malian and other regional conditions "vastly different than they were previously. There are now non-Al Qaeda associated (militant) groups that present significant threats to the United States."
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) raises most concern, he said. It's also called "the Salafist Group for Call and Combat." Other regional groups include "the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa."- Advertisement -
"It is clear to me they aspire to conduct events more broadly across the region, and eventually to the United States," claimed Ham.
"That is the ideology. That is the campaign plan. Establish the caliphate and spread the ideology. Attack Western interests. Attack democrat forms of government. We are certainly seeing it."