The turmoil in the landlocked African nation has prompted calls for France to intervene militarily in its former colony. 'Those days are gone,' said French President François Hollande.
Policymakers in many of the world's hot spots have a common New Year's wish: for unity to usher in and consolidate political and economic stability.
Despite economic strides, two-thirds of Latin America averaged in the bottom half of the 2012 Transparency International corruption rankings. Countries like Brazil, however, offer some hope.
For centuries, griots have directed ceremonies, smoothed over disputes, and served as repositories of history and genealogy. Now in northern Mali they are out of a job.
Mali was hit by two successive shocks to its system this year – with the north seized by rebels and a coup in the capital – leaving its government fragile and the international community mulling intervention.
A divided Mali could become a haven for armed groups and a security nightmare for the whole of West Africa and far beyond. But foreign military intervention alone will be insufficient to address the turmoil. External troops will need the help of local and regional civil society organizations.