Mali is entirely different from Libya, there is no support for extremism in most of Mali, even in the north among the Tuareg people the wish is for their own Tuareg state, not for an Islamic extremist one, not for Sharia or any of that. Among the Tuareg women are musicians and dancers, the resistance against Arab or Pashtun culture is immense. By contrast they are Francophone and Paris, not Mecca, is one of their most important cultural capitals.
The islamic extremists rode in with Tuaregs that fought for Gaddafi, they tried to grab Norther Mali and implement a wholly foreign ideology upon it. They broke with the Tuareg MNLA and now seem to run out of steam and will shortly be routed by a determined Franco-African offensive.
The lack of US participation is a lost opportunity and a glaringly huge hole in the understanding of the area. The liberation of Mali from marauding foreign extremists will now be a victory for France and its African allies. How Obama will have missed this easy to score goal will raise more questions about his foreign policy team’s acumen.