“So the French are getting tough even as we surrender?”
The French have been getting tough in Africa for decades. It’s part of their colonial legacy and happen mostly in their old colonies to which they have banking and trade interests. Remember the French interventions in Ivory Coast, Chad, Djibouti and libya, not to mention Algeria, which is a different kind of animal. I think they’ve also rescued hostages in Somalia.
What makes this Mali intervention interesting to me is that it mirrors the fight against Al-Shabaab in Somalia on the other side of the continent, except that the French are intervening directly instead of supporting proxies. Things were crumbling pretty badly.
It’s worth noting that the militia in Mali that is fighting the French obtained some of their weapons from the Steven’s operation at Benghazi.
It is also a strange contrast to France’s role in Syria, where they are supporting Islamist rebels to overthrow a government.