Mali is a ticking time bomb.
Once hailed as a model of democracy in Africa, a coup and an uprising of Islamist militants in the north threatens to create an arc of instability for the continent.
The militants have destroyed ancient shrines, once a major draw for Islamic scholars from around the world. They have banned music.
Reports of human rights abuses grow daily. And international leaders are considering sending troops to Mali soon to reclaim a large portion of the north from extremists.
They're concerned that al Qaeda will capitalize on the chaos and set up a haven there.
Here's a helpful explainer on what spurred the unrest in the country known, among other things, for a world-famous music festival where the likes of Robert Plant and Bono have performed.FULL STORY