French troops carry munitions today at a military airbase near Bamako, Mali. The troops are reinforcing the capital as part of an operation to prevent the takeover of the country by al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
The French intervention in Mali is likely to succeed, but the battle against the Islamist insurgents is shaping up to be much more difficult than French officials anticipated and likely will take longer and result in a number of French casualties. Moreover, it will be necessary for France to maintain a presence in the country until a stable government is set up to ensure that Islamist rebels do not return. This will test the resolve of President Francois Hollande and may cost him re-election.
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