The vote was seen as virtually inevitable with France so loudly in support, but the UN Security Council made the war in Mali official today, unanimously endorsing an invasion of the northern two-thirds of the western African nation.
That region, known as Azawad, has been out of the Malian junta for months, since secessionists routed them in the region and were themselves displaced by Islamist factions, which hope to set up a Taliban-style religious state in Azawad.
Aid groups warn that a war in the impoverished desert region is going to have an enormous humanitarian cost, and even though the Malian “government” itself seems in crisis after the military forced the prime minister to resign at gunpoint last week, NATO nations seem confident that throwing massive numbers of African Union troops at the region is going to somehow bring “stability.”
Malians in the south, emboldened by the Western calls for war, have taken up arms themselves, vowing to help bring the northern region under the thumb of the southern government. This is likely to spark ethnic and religious clashes, however, as southern Mali and Azawad are two very different places with two very different populations.