Well, those Malian Talibanies took my advice and ran for it when faced with French special forces and surgical airstrikes. They melted away when confronted, ran for the northern deserts or tried to pose as civilians. Several in the last category were recognized and lynched whereas the majority escaped into those vast open spaces where the African Union soldiery are supposed to hunt them down as the French public consider commitement to phase II of the operation a bit much to ask, and President Hollande, who is in trouble back home, is visiting Timbukto where he is being received as a hero.
But are those African Union soldiers going to do more than patrol the northern Malian towns which have been liberated by the French we ask and I imagine we all know the answer to that one. So the real task, the difficult part, is now an open question. But the French decision to leave now while the going is good is a good one. They have learnt from the fiasko in Afghan that it is impossible to beat the modern latter day terrorist organizations in terrain as vast as the deserts of Northern Mali.
But the good guys have for the moment won, and the Malians who were subjected to the terror and cultural vandalism of those savages now love France as well they should.
2nd February 2013