The United States is providing aerial refueling for France's military efforts in Mali and may start transporting troops from other African nations to support the effort. The U.S. cannot provide direct support to Mali's government because it came to power in a coup, not through democratic means.
I find this deeply disturbing. The U.S. is once again helping France to re-take one of her former colonies from insurgents and hand it off to an unpopular, inept dictatorship. The motive this time is to prevent Islamists from using Mali as a base to export jihad to other nations in the region. Fifty years ago, we were concerned about communism spreading from Indochina (Vietnam) throughout Asia.
While the French airstrikes have allowed the "government" to quickly retake urban bases, "The Islamists seemed to be pulling back further
north into the trackless desert wastes and mountain fastnesses of the
Sahara, from where some military experts fear they could carry on a
hit-and-run guerrilla war against the government."
Perhaps we should all learn the French word for quagmire: bourbier. The venerable French newspaper Le Monde is already using it.