U.S. Expands Aid to French Assault

The United States will begin offering aerial refueling and transport planes to assist the French assault on militants in Mali. The Pentagon announced the significant expansion of aid on Saturday night. French requests for greater aid from the U.S. created a significant legal challenge, because U.S. law forbids assistance funds to leaders who came to power through a coup, which is exactly how Mali’s military leaders came to power last year. But since the French are fighting “terrorist elements” a Pentagon spokesman said, “Under these circumstances, the U.S. can lawfully provide support to France’s efforts in the armed conflict in Mali.”