For now, the region is cheering France’s launching of a war on many fronts against the jihadists although it is likely to drag on for many more months
As France pours men and money into the battle against jihadists, the contours of Mali’s crisis are rapidly changing. Bombing raids may have ended the militants’ hegemony over the people of Timbuktu and Gao, but their campaign is far from over. Restoring some security across the Sahara will be a slow and painful business, with many reverses. Pounded by French air strikes near Leré, fighters led by Al Qaida’s Algerian commander Abdel Hamid Abou Zeid quickly hit back, attacking Diabali. Then, half a desert away, on 16 January Moulathmine Islamist militants took 41 foreign oil workers hostage at In Amenas, south-east Algeria.
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