A Malian junta soldier holds a gun as he stands guard in the headquarters in Kati, outside Bamako April 3, 2012. REUTERS/Luc Gnago (MALI - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS)



The Obama Administration has rejected a declaration of independence by Tuareg rebels in northern Mali, further isolating the insurgents. Tuareg fighters seized control of the north of Mali this week, and today declared independence for their own west African nation. Scott Stewart, an analyst with the global intelligence firm Stratfor, tells host Marco Werman says Western powers will be watching to see whether Islamic militants will step in to the power vacuum in the Sahel. "The fact that the military (in Mali) has basically imploded and disintegrated has to be a very big cause for concern, and of course it's opened up a big vacuum in northern Mali," says Stewart. He says the big question now is whether the main Tuareg rebel group can keep jihadists and more radical elements under control. "They claim that they can and they will. But I'm sure there's going to be a lot of apprehension by the French and the Americans and others as to whether this can happen or not," Stewart says.

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