Nicolas Sarkozy seems like a pretty serious guy. He's been talking tough for a while and now has taken the next step, at least in Mauritania, by declaring War on AQIM. I'm not completely clear on just what role the French took in the raid beyond 'technical support' but I'd bet there were some French military assets involved.
My favorite part of the story was the comment by the the Socialist Party;
"We have no quarrel to pick provided everything is done to protect both the security of our fellow citizens ... and of French territory," Socialist party spokesman Benoit Hamon told France-Inter radio. (Rueters)
Say what you will about the French but they've been active in anti pirate operations and if they are serious about the Al Queda threat anywhere it's a good thing. The French are light years ahead of the military of any Second or Third world country you care to name and better than many First as well. France currently has about 3500 troops in Afghanistan and as late as January 2010 Sarkozy confirmed his intention to maintain their presence until the job was done.
In light of the latest atrocity by those who profess to follow the religion of peace, the beheading of a 78 year old French aid worker, an increase in French operations is certainly possible and would be welcome. I could even see a time, during the current administration, when France could take over the lead in prosecuting the world wide war on terrorism. And wouldn't that be a kick in the nether regions.