The wars in Mali and Syria have followed very different trajectories over the past month. While Syria has become symbolic of international inaction, France’s use of force in Mali has shown that some Western governments are still willing to launch new interventions abroad. And while there have been no dramatic military shifts in Syria, French troops have pushed deep into northern Mali with growing speed.
The crises also have very different geopolitical implications. The situation in Mali is the latest in a long series of French operations to stabilize its former colonies, although Paris enjoys an unusual level of African backing in this case. The battle over Syria looks like a replay of the Cold War, as Russia and the West compete for power in the Middle East. Mali may be in the headlines today, but the stakes are still higher in Syria. ...
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