I wondered why the French seemed to have waited so long before agreeing to intervene. I seem to recall them being a bit more rapid in other countries. From the little bit I've read I suspect it was because the Malian army is both inadequately provisioned and incompetent.
The reports don't seem to fit together well. That's not surprising: none of the sides have any interest in telegraphing their plans or positions. I hear of action in Diabaly--bombing, French arriving, Malian army arriving, everything under control, still Islamists in the area.
Oh, and one rebel group wants to detach from the others and negotiate. And the French say that rebel fighters are better armed and trained than they expected. And Malian army units are killing suspected Islamists and dumping the bodies down wells.
And the Islamists are smuggling cocaine. And the Algerians and US conspired to provoke the Islamists.
Forgive my skepticism. Even simple verifiable things like "bombing in Diabaly" can be exagerated, suppressed, or misinterpreted. And did the French really expect the rebels to be undisciplined, or is that just the line they take to explain why things aren't happening instantly? (Logistics have to be a problem in a place like Mali; even a non-military person like me can see that.)
Qaddafi bought a lot of weapons. They haven't stayed in Libya. (I assume the administration's lies about Benghazi are trying to cover up some kind of deals with loose Libyan weapons. Possibly reasonably.) Mali won't be the last place Islamists surface with Libyan hardware.