Did you forget all those Bush-era warnings that Bin Laden's death wouldn't slow al Qaeda all that much?
Well, then, if you did the above, it must be a shock to learn that Mali, that country out in the middle of nowhere North Africa is a hotbed of AQ activity and that matters are really dire for the counter-AQ forces. See, for example, this NY Times report:
Mali Government Is Left Reeling After Islamists Take Village Long Held by Army:
Islamists advanced into territory held by the Mali government on Thursday, overrunning a long-held defensive position in the center of the country and dealing a significant blow to the Malian Army in its effort to contain the militants who have seized the nation’s north, according to a Malian Army officer.How grim? The French are intervening, as reported by Al Jazeera in France begins Mali military intervention :
President Francois Hollande has said France is intervening to stop al-Qaeda-linked fighters in Mali who have been moving toward the capital, Bamako.The UN has now called for "swift deployment of troops" to Mali, whioh, of course, always begs the question of who can deploy troops in a hurry . . .
The announcement by the leader of France, the former colonial overseer in West Africa, came on Friday after Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore had appealed for French help in stopping the rebels' advance.
"I have agreed to Mali's demand, which means French forces have provided support to Mali this afternoon," Hollande said on Friday. "The operation will last as long as is necessary."
Earlier on Friday, a Mali government official told the AFP news agency that the Malian army was being backed by Western military personnel in a fresh counter-offensive against the fighters.
Why should you care? Take a good look at the neighborhood and think of a nest of al Qaeda vipers in the middle of it.
UPDATE: A handy BBC guide to Who is who in the Mali mess.