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French plan for Mali intervention not so "crap" after all.

As 2012 wound up and Malian's contemplated the worst year in their independent history, the UN announced its imaginative new strategy for dealing with the country's crisis: nothing until September 2013. Prior to this Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, described the French plan for intervention in Mali as "crap".

At this point the spectre of another Somalia or Africa's Afghanistan looked like a horrifyingly realistic prospect as the international community turned its back on the black hole that Mali was becoming.

At the outset of the Mali crisis I felt that the worst possible scenario was France getting involved on its own. Being the former colonial power it has complicated relations with the different parties, and their intersts in the resources of the region worried me. But now I find myself in a strangely upbeat mood. At last someone is doing something.

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