French leaders insist they are determined to stay in Mali until the job is “done,” insisting that will mean safety, a nation totally free of terrorism, and a flourishing democracy to replace the military junta.
If that sounds like a tall order for a war-torn African nations where the rebels hold two thirds of the territory, it’s because it is. That’s not how French officials see it, however.
Aides of President Francois Hollande say that they believe the air strikes have been hugely successful, and believe that the entire operation will take “only a few weeks.” One can’t get much more optimistic than that.
The reality of the situation is that France has killed a lot of people, but rebels have taken even more territory since the war began. And even with African troops expected to start arriving next week, the occupation forces are likely to take months to train before they can match up to a large and increasingly well-armed rebel movement.