Why can't France handle this one? Even better, why ain't the African Union on top of this one? From the Associated Press: "The Obama administration has declared it cannot accept new terrorist sanctuaries in Mali or anywhere else and has promised to support French and African efforts to restore security. Yet after almost a year of disorder in the West African nation, Washington is still keeping the conflict at arm's length."
The article continues: "France has been engaged in a weeklong fight to eradicate Islamist extremists in northern Mali. But the U.S. ambivalence reflects several factors, foremost the U.S. government's desire to avoid being dragged into yet another war in a desolate, impoverished Islamic country. It also doesn't want to shoulder the financial burden of a potentially lengthy fight against extremists, and distrusts a Malian government dominated by military officials who've chased out a president and a prime minister over the last 10 months."
More: "That leaves the United States hoping France can get the job done. American officials say they are providing intelligence to its European ally and are considering deploying American aircraft to land in Mali for airlift or logistical support. The U.S. is offering possible surveillance drones, too, but won't entertain notions of sending American troops to keep terrorists from carving out a safe haven like they did in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."