French intervention against Al Qaeda-linked groups in northern Mali and the related hostage crisis at a gas facility in neighboring Algeria were the main headlines of the week. Robert F. Worth writing in the New York Times points to the destabilization of North Africa caused by the bloody downfall of the Libyan regime in 2011:
- The New York Times: Jihadists' Surge in North Africa Reveals Grim Side of Arab Spring (Robert F. Worth, January 19)
"Coming just four months after an American ambassador was killed by jihadists in Libya, those assaults have contributed to a sense that North Africa -- long a dormant backwater for Al Qaeda -- is turning into another zone of dangerous instability, much like Syria, site of an increasingly bloody civil war. The mayhem in this vast desert region has many roots, but it is also a sobering reminder that the euphoric toppling of dictators in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt has come at a price."