Mali

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Snapshot,
Jean-Philippe Dedieu

Mali held a presidential runoff election this weekend. Here's why the vote of the country's diaspora will determine the next government's political legitimacy.

Snapshot,
Etienne de Durand

France's intervention in Mali has so far succeeded, but expelling Islamist militants was the easy part. Now Paris must turn its tactical achievements into a lasting victory -- which will require a light but enduring presence in the country.

Snapshot,
Sebastian Elischer

Although France quickly achieved its goals in Mali, the Islamist and Tuareg militants it fought are still at large, having swiftly retreated into the northeastern part of the country. The most likely outcome of the French operation, therefore, is not an end to West Africa's problems but their spread into neighboring Niger.

Snapshot,
Susanna Wing

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.

Snapshot,
Yahia H. Zoubir

The Libyan leader's ouster dispersed masses of guns and refugees across the region. Already, Algeria has seen attacks by AQIM militants armed with Libyan weapons, Mali has been rocked by a coup led by armed nomads returning from Libya, Niger is struggling to cope with waves of refugees from Libya and Mali, and Tunisia's economy has been shattered by the loss of its most important trading partner.

Snapshot,
Susanna Wing

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.

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