The French military has had a great initial success in Mail. They soon chased the Tuareg rebels out of Timbuktu and the other towns. A small French force has proven itself to be nimble, aggressive, daring, and so far victorious. They should be congratulated – though their foe was little more than gunmen in pickups.
Now what? There are two main scenarios:
Scenario One: France will withdraw, the West will pay African states to send a long-term force and, the West will send trainers and equipment to build-up the Bamako government’s army.
But the Mail army already in 2012 proved itself disastrously unable to fight the few Tuareg rebels. The West will be propping up a military dictatorship in Bamako. It will mean turning a blind eye to killings and repression of Tuareg. Plus, it is unlikely to work in the long term. Eventually Tuareg rebellions will occur again.
Scenario Two: accept and recognize an independent or semi-independent Azande or Tuareg homeland. If Islamists are a threat, then the French could just as well assist nationalist Tuareg against them. It is time to question the Masonic Conspiracy of African Presidents to maintain existing boundaries at all cost. It is time to consider partition.
This is less likely to happen, but may have better long term chance of success.