Iran's Press TV, 2/23/13:
The United States, France and their allies are going to stay in the African nation of Mali because of its rich natural resources, an analyst said.
“Mali is actually one of the leading producers of gold and uranium and there is a lot of unexploited oil in the northern part of Mali… so this looks to be a long occupation by the Western powers,” Linh Dinh told Press TV’s U.S. Desk.
“France is leading the charge right now, but behind them Japan, the U.S., and Germany are the biggest donors to the war effort in Mali,” he said.
According to reports, the United States is likely to play a more active military role in Mali after the African country holds elections, the chair of a key Senate sub-committee says.
Washington has been providing intelligence, transport and mid-air refueling to France, which waged its war last month, but cannot work directly with the Malian army until a government replaces current leaders who came to power after a coup, said Chris Coons, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee's Africa sub-committee.
Furthermore, the Pentagon is establishing a Predator drone base in the West African country of Niger to assist the French-led war in neighboring Mali.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced Friday that about 100 U.S. troops have been deployed to Niger to set up the drone base.