Recent reports have oversimplified the conflict in Mali, hinting that the country hosts a coherent Tuareg separatist bloc and a popular radical Islamist movement. In fact, mainstream Malians love neither. Most of them just want a return to democracy with broader participation and more freedoms -- the precise opposite of what they fear the separatists and Islamists would bring. As long as French assistance helps hold those groups off, it will be welcome.
Touré's ouster was a long time coming. The country's flailing economy -- hurt even more in recent months by a loss of tourism revenue after several Islamist attacks -- and the decades-long Tuareg insurgency in the North set the stage for his fall. The interim president must now start addressing average Malians' economic woes and quelling the insurgency, or else risk intervention from abroad.