Mali – the entire Saharan Desert portion of the nation is controlled by Islamists looking to control the nation. They are supported by AQIM.

Mali is quick to become the next Afghanistan. Despite the United State’s best efforts both politically and militarily; the country is slowly succumbing to the control of Islamic jihadis in the North. An umbrella term that includes many militant organizations including the Mali-based al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb.

But over the course of the last few months there has been a massive military rush by numerous nearby nations to stem the tide. A dozen nations have heed the call for help and are being strategically prepared for a massive counter-terrorism assault on the terrorist-controlled Northern Mali (hopefully).
Since 2007 the U.S. has had a steady presence of military (specifically Army Special Forces) as well our intelligence operatives on the ground in Mali and nearby nations as part of  Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara. In Mali specifically – U.S. SOF personnel found themselves in a political predicament when rogue Malian military personnel took control of the government in March of this year in response to the civilian government’s failure to handle the major uprising in the North. When a civilian government is overthrown by its own military in a coup d’Etat, generally the U.S. State Department won’t recognize the new government and partnerships are normally temporary suspended. Considering the U.S. SOF personnel are there by official invite by the Mali government and not operating clandestinely; they had no choice but to pull out of the country (“via official Pentagon sources”) until diplomatic matters are resolved. In April, 3 U.S. special operations service members were killed in Mali when their vehicle plunged off a bridge – one month after the coup and after military relations ceased between both nations. Their presence and mission there is still a mystery.

Current major events in Mali:

Mali soldiers march in formation.

early October 2012: Mauritania, Niger, Togo, and Nigeria have pledged upwards to 3,000 men in addition to Mali’s own 5,000 assembled soldiers. It is believed that the Islamists have accumulated a force of 3,000 and their numbers are sweltering.