After two weeks of airstrikes, French and Malian soldiers have pushed Islamic rebels out of the city of Gao. Gao is the largest city in Northern Mali by population, and the loss of its stronghold will be a massive blow to the rebels. Very soon they will be pushed out of all major settlements and will most likely return to guerrilla warfare – more manageable for the Malian government. Perhaps I’m being too optimistic; the problem won’t disappear overnight, and it’ll take Mali a long time to recover from this disastrous episode. But French intervention certainly seems to have sped up the process of pushing the Islamists out of the region and hopefully, in time, restoring stability to the country.