While I welcome serious military intervention against terrorist groupations (it has happened as a response to request by Mali government, and is thus not illegal like intervention in Afghanistan or Iraq), I have my doubts.
First, much like South Vietnam, Mali’s armed forces do not seem to be sufficiently trained or motivated. Without ground troops – infantry in particular – you can’t win a war.
Second, as noted in article, France – which has intervened due to Mali President’s request – is former colonial overlord of Mali. Unlike United Kingdom during post-World War 2 decolonization period, France generally refused to withdraw from its colonies without fight. As could have been expected, insurgents have quickly chosen to capitalize on that fact for propaganda purposes. This move by insurgents is likely to be at least somewhat successfull, further eroding domestic support for Mali government.
Third, Western countries already have intervened in Afghanistan in 2001 – so far, results are lacking, which does not inspire confidence. Lack of results in Afghanistan is mostly due to international and governmental forces trying to control cities, while leaving countryside – where Taliban get most of their recruits from – without control. This could repeat in Mali.
Best solution would be for France and NATO to provide exclusively logistical and intelligence support, with possibility of on-request air strikes against insurgent positions with A-10s and helicopters. Ground troops should be provided by other African countries, with whom Mali people can identify, thus not giving insurgents any propaganda materials. In fact, article states that Senegal and Nigeria have positively responded to Mali request for military help.