In this Oct. 19, 2012 photo, men pray beside the tombs of locally venerated Islamic saints, whose mausoleums were destroyed by Islamist group Ansar Dine, in Timbuktu, Mali. In recent mo

 

              In this Oct. 19, 2012 photo, men pray beside the tombs of locally venerated Islamic saints, whose mausoleums were destroyed by Islamist group Ansar Dine, in Timbuktu, Mali. In recent mo
In this Oct. 19, 2012 photo, men pray beside the tombs of locally venerated Islamic saints, whose mausoleums were destroyed by Islamist group Ansar Dine, in Timbuktu, Mali. In recent months, al-Qaida and its allies have taken advantage of political instability within Mali to push out of their hiding place and into the towns, taking over an enormous territory which they are using to stock arms, train forces and prepare for global jihad. And as 2012 draws to a close and the world hesitates, delaying a military intervention, the extremists who seized control of the area earlier this year are preparing for a war they boast will be worse than the decade-old struggle in Afghanistan. (AP Photo)