In early December I wrote an article that gave a basic overview on what the situation in Mali looked like (Battle for Mali: Coming Soon, 2013) and what needed to be done in order for the Malian government to retake control of the North. The timeframe I estimated was “2-3 months” until some kind of offensive campaign would take place.

Well 1.5 months later, it’s refreshing to see that somebody stepped up to the plate.

We can assume all we want that U.S. and allied SOF are out there running and gunning, but the reality is this was initiated by the French – kudos to them. With strong interests in nearby Morocco and Algeria, it only makes sense that France was ready to make a move against AQIM and similar groups throughout Mali.

I’m a visual person and reading about battles in towns or cities really doesn’t do much for my understanding. It’s only been a couple of days since assault operations began, known as Operation Serval, and I wanted to show readers a more visual representation of the situation on the ground.