[MB: More background history for the French and US intervention in Mali (and NW Africa) -- this is from two weeks ago, but it is an important mapping out of some of the historical context that is needed to understand why this is happening and the groups involved.]
Admin Aids French Bombing of Mali After U.S.-Trained Forces Join Rebels in Uranium-Rich Region
France is in its fifth day of an offensive to oust rebels that have held much of Mali’s northern region since March, an area larger than Afghanistan. The strikes have reportedly killed 11 civilians, including three children fleeing the bombardment of a camp near the central town of Konna. The United Nations estimates as many as 30,000 may have been displaced since fighting began last week. The United States has backed the offensive by helping transport French troops and making plans to send drones or other surveillance aircraft. It is aiding a fight against Malian forces that it once helped train, only to see them defect and join the Islamist rebellion. We discuss the latest in Mali with Al Jazeera correspondent May Ying Welsh, who has reported from Mali’s north, and with freelance journalist Hannah Armstrong, a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, who joins us from the Malian capital of Bamako.
May Ying Welsh, correspondent for Al Jazeera English who recently reported from inside Mali’s restive northern region and is currently working on a documentary about Mali.
Hannah Armstrong, Bamako-based research fellow with the Institute of Current World Affairs. She has been analyzing the Sahel region of Africa for the past five years and spent the past year in Mali, Muaritania and Tunisia.
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