Suddenly, a crisis that only weeks ago appeared confined to a part of the world that epitomizes Western notions of exotic inaccessibility—Mali is home to the fabled city of Timbuktu—is pushing itself onto the agenda of strategists in Washington, Paris and Ottawa. Drained from more than a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq, no Western government, including Canada’s, wanted another potentially bruising war in a poverty-ravaged Muslim country. But this one may not be avoidable.
Maclean’s video: Questions about Mali
In this narrated photo gallery, Michael Petrou explains why taking on al-Qaeda in north Africa is unavoidable