Rebel forces control northern areas large as Texas. The Los Angeles Times said Pentagon officials "warn(ed) that without more aggressive US action, Mali could become a haven for extremists."
AFRICOM commander General Carter Ham said "if left unaddressed, (they'll) obtain capability to match their intent - that being to extend their reach and control and attack American interests."- Advertisement -
He referred to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). It raises most concern, he said. "It is clear to me they aspire to conduct events more broadly across the region," he added.
Washington is very much involved. Pentagon spokesman Major Robert Firman said US C-17 cargo jets are ferrying hundreds of French troops and equipment to Mali. Surveillance, intelligence, and other assistance are supplied.
Mali risks becoming another Afghanistan. Hollande may regret getting involved. Body bags coming home may turn French people against him.
Months after being elected, his popularity declined significantly. Intervening in Mali helped. Most French people support it. Protracted conflicts aren't popular. They take their toll.
Sentiment usually changes. Domestic priorities matter most. Hollande promised austerity. Doing so defies popular interests. Anti-austerity strikes and protests affect France and other European countries.
Foreign interventions change the subject. For how long is at issue. Economic priorities matter most. Eventually they trump other concerns. Hollande may suffer the consequences.