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  • Yes , France is discreetly leaving Mali ; but no , France is also even more discreetly not leaving Mali .

500 troops have left ; but 3,800 are still there . And yes , the French Parliament has unanimously voted keeping the troops in the country (Mr Jean-Luc Melenchon’s far-left Bloc de Gauche merely abstained) . To be honest , everybody is worried , unsure and afraid of the future . The nasty Islamists have melted into the Sahara but their remains are still moving . The political scene in Bamako remains as confused as ever and the ECOWAS deployment force has fallen behind schedule . The Chadians are the only troops who are there in a serious way and we can expect President Idris Deby to soon present his bills not only in Paris but probably in Washington as well . He is the only honcho on the block who can actually do the job . This is in for the long haul .

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