Perils of Intervention

Paolo Marchetti

A fish seller stands in front of a ruined fish market in the town of Konna. The man lost his business after French forces destroyed the market

When the French government donated tens of thousands of dollars to rebuild Gao's central market after it had been destroyed in a fire ignited by a suicide bomber in February, residents of the main city in northern Mali responded with grateful appreciation. They named the new market after Damien Boiteux, the first French soldier to die, on Jan. 11, on the first day of the war that liberated northern Mali from the grip of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic extremists who had occupied the region for nearly a year.

But within days of the...

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