By Dan Szematowicz, CNN
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(CNN) - Welcome to the CNN Soundwaves Sunday Playlist, a swing through the stories and podcasts that we're listening to.
The northern half of Mali, under control of al Qaeda-linked jihadists, has become a battle zone.
This week, French and Malian troops went to war there to prevent Islamist militants from advancing further south. They hope to ease the threat to the rest of Mali, one of West Africa's more stable nations.
It's an important conflict that has yet to make it onto the world's radar in a major way. Here's some of our favorite reporting on the conflict there, produced by other outlets.
- First, let's start with how we got here. Public Radio Fresh Air has this comprehensive briefing on Mali's troubles with Adam Nossiter, the New York Times's West Africa bureau chief. The headline says it all: Northern Mali: A Violent Islamist Stronghold.
- This conflict isn't a surprise to anyone involved. The combatants have been getting ready for a while. Here's the BBC's Thomas Fessy, with militia as they train in the strategic border town of Mopti.
- Now, the safeties are off and the showdown has arrived. NPR correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is on the ground in neighboring Senegal. Here she speaks with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon about the most recent action in northern Mali between French troops and Islamist rebels.
Stay with CNN for continuing coverage of this developing story.