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Why France should be in Mali

Western intervention in Mali is the right move—for now

By Robert Bates  

Tuareg militants in northern Mali (photo: Magharebia)

Mere hours after the French intervention in Mali began, the international commentariat sprang into action. Their responses have ranged from principled opposition to unqualified support, while journalists in Mali and academics based there and elsewhere have tended to provide more expository analysis.

The situation is confusing and complex. However, a few things can be said with some measure of certainty: the western powers are in Mali with the support of most Malians; they are acting under the legal aegis of UN…

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