You may have been wondering why the European powers were getting involved once again in somebody else's war - France and the U.S. in Mali and Algeria.
The goal of the current political class in the U.S., of course, is to dominate the world so it is no surprise that U.S. forces are involved. France, however, was forced out of its colonies in Africa during the 60's and might be thought to have maintained a lower profile since then. But old habits die hard, and France's new president Hollande had been suffering a spectacular drop in support within France - until he invaded Mali. War fever often brings the populace around.
But it turns out that the events in North Africa have deeper roots. Pambazuka News, an excellent on-the-ground source of news from the cradle of humanity, has an in-depth article on the last twenty years or so of Great Power machinations in that area. I encourage reading it as an antidote to the commercial media meme of "one more example of Islamic extremism".