Last Friday, Islamic militants seized over 170 hostages in the Radisson Blu luxury hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali. The militants managed to kill at least nineteen hostages before being overpowered. Coming on the heels of the ISIS bloodbath in Paris, the collective reflex has been to connect the attacks. But the episode should be recognized for what it was: an assault on efforts to stabilize the West African country. This week, President Obama hosted French President Hollande in Washington. While the focus of the meeting was undoubtedly on ISIS, its stronghold in Syria and the threat to western nations, Mali, too, must have loomed on the agenda for the problems it poses.
The above excerpt was originally published in The National Interest.
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