A State Department official for Africa said the U.S. would like to see an African-led, -owned and -directed operation like the one that successfully pushed militants out of Somalia’s capital after several years of warfare. But Don Yamamoto warned that intervention could take years before finding success.

“This is only the first phase. It is going to take time. I think people should not be into the illusion that it is going to be quick,” said Yamamoto, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs…

“A lot of the rebel groups that are now fighting in the region were under Gadhafi’s troops. They were trained for over a decade. You have rebel groups that are well trained and well-armed and very aggressive. And so if you have any problems in governance in the country, that would allow these extremist groups to come and that’s what happened in Mali,” said Yamamoto.