Maybe, but the Tuaregs have longed for independence for decades, and Mali's security has been declining for years.
While President Nicolas Sarkozy denies the crackdown on alleged Islamist militants in France has anything to do with last month's shootings in Toulouse, today's raids were the second series since the incident.
Disarray following a March 21 coup has allowed Tuareg rebels to take over much of Mali's north. West African neighbors worry about spillover.
After winning court permission to run for a third term, overriding a constitutional ban, President Abdoulaye Wade steps aside – breaking a pattern of Senegalese leaders overstaying their welcome.