A Yellow Dog walks on the deck of the French Navy aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle operating in the Gulf as the US Navy Fregate USS Mitscher sails past oil platforms at sunset on February 24, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ
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Once a source of irritation for the United States, France has nudged aside Britain to become the U.S. military's key European partner.The growing ties between the two militaries were on display this month when France's top military officer, General Pierre de Villiers, hosted his U.S. counterpart, General Martin Dempsey, aboard France's aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle.The French flagship, which arrived in the Gulf in February to take part in U.S.-led airstrikes on ISIS, is operating under U.S. command – a first for French naval forces.U.S. commanders were also grateful when France took the lead in military operations against Islamist extremists in the Sahel region of Africa, with U.S. forces providing logistical support and drones to back up the effort.On crucial security issues, France – even more than Britain – has recently found itself in agreement with the United States.That does not mean that the so-called U.S. "special relationship" with Britain has been replaced.
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