Insurgent raids into Timbuktu and Gao in supposedly secured northern cities put a question mark over France's aspirations to wrap up its military intervention in Mali soon.
AFRICOM faces pressure to better protect US interests on the African continent, even as the sequester threatens crucial portions of its budget.
The Child Soldier Initiative will train the army and police in how to engage with children in combat situations, as well as educate youths about the problem.
Despite pledges from Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah that use of force will be met with force, there has been no retaliation since Israel's airstrike inside Syria Jan. 30. Israel clearly retains the strategic high ground in the region, with full knowledge that its enemies are bogged down.
Islamist rebels slipped into the strategic city of Gao by crossing the Niger River with canoes over the weekend.
Increased security has forced pirates to rethink their strategy for obtaining oil, Alic writes, and they have repeatedly demonstrated that they are capable of moving with the times.