David Axe checks in on the country:
When militants in northern Mali attacked towards Bamako on Jan. 11, France’s response followed the Somalia model. French armored vehicles sped north under intensive air cover. Special Operations Forces organized Malian battalions and led them into combat. The U.S. offered intel; sent transport and aerial refueling planes for support; and laid plans for a drone deployment to the region. In less than a month, French-led forces liberated all of the north’s major cities, reportedly killing hundreds of militants at light cost to themselves. Paris is now planning to pull out its troops as early as March.
But if Mali continues to echo Somalia, the real nasty fighting is only beginning just as France plans to pull out its forces. The corrupt, undisciplined Malian troops and unproven West African peacekeepers who will remain behind might not be up to the task of defeating an entrenched insurgency. Suppressing Somali militants took another five years of painful effort after the invasion phase. Does Mali also face years of bloody irregular fighting before it can declare peace?
Indications are, yes.