At its Wednesday session, the United Nations General Assembly will be trying to figure out ways in which the world can help Mali reunite.
Who should take the lead? About this, there is hardly any doubt: the Malian army.
Yet this is the exact same army that lost large chunks of the north to Tuareg rebels earlier this year, staged a coup on 22 March and finally saw invasion by various Salafists forces.
In fact, a persistent stream of information comes from north Mali, and it all points to the same conclusion: everyone is fed up with the Salafist who are destroying people's traditional ways of life. Protests have taken place on the streets of Timbuktu and Gao. Earlier this month, a youth militia in Douentza fought against the occupiers - and lost.
Now in place is an interim government that must eventually lead to the restoration of democracy. But even with some international credibility restored, Mali cannot reconquer the north on its own.
"The army needs weapons, logistics, training and expertise," says Valentina Soria, a researcher on counter-terrorism and security at the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Some of this, she thinks will come from the West.
"There may be some weapons shipments or training, but no Western power will commit troops to Mali. And, yes, better intelligence coverage and communication for the West African troops on the ground will certainly be welcomed." But that is as far as it will go.
So the bulk of assistance will come from the neighbours, especially the Economic Community of West African States. But ECOWAS and Mali are not in terribly good books right now. Jeune Afrique reports this week that there are large quantities of vehicles, tanks, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition sitting in the ports of Conakry, Lomé, Dakar and Abidjan. They were bought by deposed President Amadou Toumani Touré, and ECOWAS is not very keen on rewarding the putschists with a nice arsenal of heavy weaponry.
A lot of bad air must be cleared before the first West African troops can even walk in. And once that finally occurs, Soria believes recovery of the north will have to follow a particular sequence.
"First, the troops will have to take the main centres, so that the state can restore its authority there. And then they will have to extend their operations and take the centres of control that are in Islamists or Taureg hands," she says.
The plan, therefore, is to first retake Kidal, Gao, Timbuktu and possibly a few other major cities. Next, with the help of (overt or covert) intelligence from France and the United States, the irregular forces will be removed from their own command and control centres.
A rebel is a rebel
Soria makes no distinction between Salafist and Tuareg rebels - neither do Malians in the south. Popular rap tunes exhort Malian soldiers to move back to the north and get rid of everyone who has invaded the region since the beginning of the year: Tuareg rebels, Salafist fighters and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahreb (AQIM).
One question remains, though. If West African troops, with some help, manage to rid the north of its invaders - and that's a big if - where will these rebels go?
Soria says: "For years, they have been an established presence in ill-patrolled border areas with Niger, Mauritania, Algeria and also Libya. So if the north of Mali is taken back by the Malian state, they will go back to those border areas and stay there."