The Malian transitional government, such as it is, has officially asked the international community for military support in their long-term goals of rebuilding the military and conquering the northern half of their nation.
Mali lost the northern half, called Azawad, in a war with Tuareg secessionists armed with looted weapons from Libya. The Tuaregs won quickly, but were themselves eventually ousted by Ansar Dine, an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist bloc with an eye on turning Azawad into a Taliban-style theocracy.
The loss of Azawad was met poorly by Mali’s military, which carried out a coup, and eventually turned over control of the country to an interim government led by Dioncounda Traore, who has repeatedly extended his rule and made headlines earlier this year when protesters walked into his office and beat him up.
Traore’s request for foreign backing was immediately spurned by the leader of the former military junta, which retains considerable control over the nation. They said air strikes against Azawad would be welcomed but that ground troops were “out of the question.”