Despite repeated promises to have the war ended in a matter of weeks, French officials are now admitting that their invasion force in Mali is going to remain through at least July, and that date is based on the assumption of quick and successful elections.
When the invasion began, French officials vowed to make the entire nation “terror-free” and a “flourishing democracy” within a matter of weeks. With the rebels increasingly turning into an insurgency, goals have been pared back considerably, but weeks has still turned into a six month occupation.
Which, given the fierce fighting and the growing number of bombing attack, still seems an optimistic end date for the French war, assuming France actually intends to keep troops through until some sort of resolution is reached.
Indeed, France’s whole attempt to sell other nations on jumping into the war on the belief it was going to be short and easy was never particularly convincing, and many of the nations that opposed entering the war did so based on the fear they were getting sucked into what could be, and increasingly is, an open-ended quagmire.