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The visit to the oldest friend and ally (maj2)

Ash Carter leaves the Charles de Gaulle with Captain Eric Malbrunot, French Secretary of State Jean-Marc Todeschini Admiral René-Jean Crignola
US Secretary of State Ash Carter leaves the Charles de Gaulle in the company (if I noted correctly) of Captain Eric Malbrunot (to his right), French Secretary of State Jean-Marc Todeschini and Admiral René -Jean Crignola (to his left) (credit: DoD photo – Army Sgt. 1st Class Clydell Kinchen)

(B2) By setting foot on the Charles de Gaulle, the US Secretary of State for Defense wanted to pay tribute to the “oldest friend and ally” the United States has had. “ France is – perhaps some of you don't know – America's oldest ally. Oldest friend and ally » said Ash Carter.

The Charles de la Gaulle at the head of the TF 50

Rear Admiral René-Jean Crignola, commander of the Naval Strike Group, has indeed taken on the role of commander of Task Force 50, the naval component of the coalition against Daesh (1). This is the first time that the position of commander of the TF50 has been exercised by a non-American. Usually, it is carried out by an American admiral. This is something we are very proud of at the French level, which thus steals the position of first ally from the British to whom this role is usually devolved (2). The TF50 commander also works in close collaboration with USNAVCENT, the American regional naval headquarters of the coalition against Daesh.

Proud of the work of the Frenchies!

« We are proud that you command Task Force 50” echoed Ash Carter. The Naval Air Group (GAN), formed around the Charles de Gaulle, ensures the permanent presence of the allies in the Gulf, thus relaying American ships which have an “air gap”. On the French side, the GAN brings together — on the French side — the Embarked Air Group (GAé), the air defense frigate Chevalier Paul anti-submarine frigate La Motte-Picquet, the command and supply building (BCR) Marne — and at least three European ships: the Belgian frigate Leopold I, of the German frigate augsburg and the British air defense frigate Hms defender. The Charles de Gaulle is home to a multinational staff, including a few Americans whom Ash Carter wanted to personally greet. " Americans, French and others, we are one family in this fight.”

Defeat an evil force

Daesh/Isil” is an evil force (3) that will be defeated, must be defeated... quickly — declared the US Secretary of State. These are President Obama's instructions. And I know that these are also the instructions of President Hollande: to accelerate the defeat of Daesh. » And to add: the “ France is not alone in contributing to efforts to defeat ISIL. (But) the presence of 'De Gaulle' here in the Persian Gulf means that the nation is on a broader mission for the security of the region. This reminds us that France (has) a global reputation as a force for civilization. It is up to (the) civilized world to defend itself and what we represent. »

Last report

Since December 9, French crews have carried out 54 sorties over areas controlled by Daesh: 45 bombings in support of Iraqi troops on the ground (Close Air Support) or on planned objectives, 4 intelligence gathering flights and 5 sorties of supplies, according to a final report from the army general staff, presented on December 17. In total, 12 strikes destroyed 22 objectives held by Daesh. On December 15, 2015, Air Force Mirage 2000s and Rafales “ hit a planned (deliberate) target in the Al Qaim area. Command buildings, training buildings and logistics depots were destroyed ". SCALP cruise missiles were used for the first time since the launch of Operation Chammal during this raid.


In pictures, the visit of the US Secretary of State for Defense

(1) A command taken when the ship passed through the Red Sea, on December 7, after having crossed the Suez Canal to reach the Arab-Persian Gulf, the GAP, as the sailors say, not stingy with initials, after MEDOR (the Eastern Mediterranean), that sounds…


(2) Not entirely, however, as an attentive reader pointed out to me, Ash Carter spoke of an “old” ally. No “first ally”. Be careful not to take your desires for reality...

(3) A very messianic language in a way, which has been a permanent feature of American discourse for a long time, and which always insists on recalling the fight for civilization and against the devil.

(Updated) details on the composition of the GAN and the role of the TF50, and last strike report + video

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).