The escalating war in Mali is a deadly drama with many actors in many roles. France currently is a lead actor in "retaking" Mali, its former colony, from a collapsed government, a military coup, an internal separatist movement, and an incursion of reputed al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamist rebels from neighboring states. But France's intentions are far from honorable, says journalist Gilbert Mercier. The war in Mali, he says, has set the stage for the recolonization of most of Africa. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama begins his second term selling America the illusion that "we're all in this together."