Archive for the ‘Afghanistan War’ Category

Waziristan War (2004-Present)

17 Nov

Waziristan War—(2004- Present): In the rugged and remote region of Waziristan on Pakistan’s northwest border with Afghanistan, Islamic rebels allied to the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida are fighting to establish an Islamic Republic.

The fighting began in 2004, when Pakistan’s army entered the region inhabited by the Waziri tribe in search al-Qaida and Taliban fighters who were using Waziristan as a base for attacks against American and Allied forces in Afghanistan.

Since the fighting began, Pakistani forces suffer almost daily casualties due to roadside bombs and ambushes. The authority of the central government is almost nonexistent in the rebellious tribal borderlands.

The United States aids the Pakistani forces with intelligence information and with tactical air strikes on suspected rebel bases and safe houses. The best known U.S. airstrike occurred at the village of Damadola, on January 13, 2006. The attack occurred in the Bajaur tribal area, about 4.5 miles) from the Afghan border. This Predator-drone attack killed at least 18 people, including several non-Waziri foreign al-Qaida fighters.

In July, 2007, following nearly ten months of an uneasy peace, the Islamic militants of Waziristan once again began fighting the Pakistani government in response to the siege and army assault on the Red Mosque in Islamabad. The Red Mosque had been held by Islamic militants and the Pakistani Army ousted the militants in a bloody battle.

The U.S. had been quietly critical of Musharaff’s government for letting the militants in the Waziristan border region regroup during the ten-month truce. After the border region violence renewed, Washington offered assistance to Pakistan in terms of arms and other aid. Rumors of possible American intervention against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Waziristan sparked a rebuke from the Pakistani government that any such cross-border action would be opposed.

Reports: Pak Army strikes in Waziristan–July 25, 2007

US points out 9 terror camps in Waziristan–July 25, 2007

60 dead in Pakistan border fighting  –April 4, 2007

Copyright © 1998-2007 Roger A. Lee and History Guy Media; Last Modified: 10.07.07

"The History Guy" is a Registered Trademark.


Musharraf’s Martial Law Endangers the War on Terror

04 Nov

When General/President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan, ended freedom of speech, freedom of the press, overturned the authority of the Supreme Court, and postponed elections by at least a year, he not only reminded everyone that he is, indeed, a military dictator, but he also seriously endangered America’s War on Terror.

The War on Terror, or the Long War, as some have come to call the current world war the U.S. is waging on Islamic extremists, has relied on Pakistan’s relative stability as a bulwark against the Taliban and al-Qaida.  The War in Afghanistan, which has entered its sixth year, has put a great deal of pressure on neighboring Pakistan.  The Taliban and al-Qaida use the mountainous border region for bases and for recruitment of new fighters.  Keeping Pakistan in the fight against the terrorists is vital for American strategy, yet Musharraf has made American support for his regime all the more difficult with his heavy-handed repression of political dissent.

This state of emergency will only embolden the Islamic militants in Pakistan, giving them more legitimacy as "freedom fighters" against an American-supported military dictatorship.  Meanwhile, by suppressing the free press and the legitimate non-violent political opposition, he weakens the democratic institutions that form the natural bulwark to the extremists. 

The Bush Administration is caught between a rock and a hard place in deciding how to respond to this unwelcome development.  Too much pressure on Musharraf to reverse course could drive Pakistan out of the anti-Taliban alliance.  Too little pressure will expose the cynicism and hypocrisy of America’s claim to support democracy in Iraq and elsewhere while tolerating or supporting dictatorships when convenient.  And of course, if Pakistan devolves into a spiral of violence, the militants win and at the best Pakistan is unable to control its own borders, while at the worst, an anti-Western, pro-Taliban, pro-bin Laden government takes over.  And let us not forget that Pakistan is a nuclear power.  If chaos reigns, who watches the nuclear arsenal?  Thinking people in Washington, London, Tehran, New Delhi, Kabul and elsewhere should be very worried on that point.   


Biography: Pervez Musharraf

04 Nov

Pervez Musharraf–(b. August 11, 1943)

Pervez Musharraf , commanding general of the Pakistani military, as well as the current president of Pakistan, is a military dictator who seized power in a military coup on October 12, 1999. In his time as Pakistan’s top general and as its political leader, he has led Pakistan into conflict with India (the Kargil Conflict), supported the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan, become an ally of the United States against the Taliban after September 11, 2001, fought against rebels in Baluchistan, and against frontier tribes, al-Qaida and the Taliban in the resurgent Waziristan War and the Siege of the Red Mosque. Musharraf has presided over the political fragmentation of his country as he tries to suppress democracy and continue his hold on power especially with his ongoing political conflict with Pakistan’s Supreme Court and his imposition of a State of Emergency, (martial law) in early November of 2007.

Musharraf was born in Nahr wali Haveli, Delhi, British India on August 11, 1943. British India was divided between the newly independent nations of Pakistan and India, and, as Muslims, the Musharraf family migrated from Hindu-dominated India to the Muslim nation of Pakistan, along with millions of other Indian Muslims. His father was a Pakistani diplomat, reaching the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Musharraf graduated in 1956 from Saint Patrick’s School in Karachi, Pakistan, and later attended Forman Christian College in Lahore. Though he is Muslim, it was then common for children of the educated elite to attend such private schools.

Musharraf entered the military in 1964, and served in the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War. He later fought in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War (a.k.a. the Bangladesh War of Independence). Musharraf does not belong to the largely ethnic Punjabi officer class which dominates the Pakistani army. The Musharraf family are members of the Urdu ethnic group. His rise through the military is notable due to his minority status. In addition to his education as a youth, Musharraf also acquired military training in the United Kingdom. (See also: Indo-Pakistani Wars)

In 1998, General Pervez Musharraf was appointed to the position of Army Chief of Staff by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The 1998-1999 Kargil Crisis and conflict, which was overseen by General Musharraf, ended as an embarrassing loss for Pakistan, and brought him into open conflict with the Prime Minister. In October, 1999, Prime Minister Sharif attempted to fire Musharraf, who then led a bloodless coup against Sharif. Immediately following the Musharraf coup, tensions with India increased, though eventually the Musharraf regime worked successfully to ease tensions with India.

Prior to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, Pakistan supported the Taliban movement in neighboring Afghanistan, but Musharraf decided to work with the United States against the Taliban and al-Qaida as the U.S. and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October, 2001. Musharraf’s stance against Islamic extremists like the Taliban and al-Qaida helped lead to violence within Pakistan as those groups aided frontier tribes oppose the authority of Pakistan’s central government. Traditionally, the tribal groups along Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier have enjoyed a great deal of autonomy, and when Musharraf sent the Pakistani military to the frontier in an attempt to prevent Taliban and al-Qaida infiltration along the border (per American requests), the tribes saw this as a violation of their rights. The Taliban and al-Qaida were more than willing to aid the tribes against the government, and this border conflict became the latest War in Waziristan, as part of the frontier is known. Islamic militants have attempted to assassinate President Musharraf several times, and in the summer of 2007, violence hit the Pakistani capital with the Siege of the Red Mosque. Islamic militants led by Abdul Rashid Ghazi defied government authority, which prompted a violent army siege of an important mosque in Islamabad, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

Musharraf named himself President of Pakistan in June, 2001, and has maintained that post as well as his old position of Army Chief of Staff. The legality of his dual role has brought him into conflict with the Pakistani Supreme Court. Despite the fact that Musharraf allowed a former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto to return from exile, he imposed martial law in early November of 2007. This act brought condemnation from many foreign governments, including the United States. Pakistan is at the brink of serious political violence as Musharraf attempts to further consolidate power at the expense of his country’s remaining democratic institutions.

Syed Musharraf Uddin Father

Zarin MusharrafMother





Profile: Pervez Musharraf--from the BBC

Pervez Musharraf--Wikipedia Article

Pervez Musharraf–World (sister site)

The Road to Lal Masjid and its Aftermath–By Hassan Abbas at Global Terrorism Monitor


Stormfront: The Consequences of September 11 and America’s Wars Around the World

11 Sep

So, what are the real consequences of September 11, 2001 on how America wages war around the world?  That would seem to be an stupid question with an obvious answer:  The U.S. invaded Afghanistan to retaliate against al-Qaida and its Taliban allies, and later invaded Iraq to prevent Saddam Hussein from developing weapons of mass destruction and initiating a nuclear (or biological/chemical) 9/11.  (Those are the "official" versions of the reasons, by the way).

What many do not realize, largely because the mainstream media ignores or downplays them, is that the United States (and its allies) have been very, very active militarily around the world since the terrorist attacks of September 11 in their efforts to combat radical Islamic militants.

One of the first publicly acknowledged military efforts (after Afghanistan), was the deployment of U.S. Special Forces troops to the Philippines to aid the government there against the Abu Sayyaf rebels in the largely Muslim southern islands.

Another area the U.S. intervened in was the ongoing struggle in Yemen, an Arab country to the south of Saudi Arabia.  There, some of the tribes in the countryside who traditionally cause trouble for the central government, began working with al-Qaida.  This resulted in the U.S. providing aid to the Yemeni government and occasionally popping fugitive al-Qaida terrorists with Hellfire missiles fired from Predator drone aircraft.

Those Predator drones, by the way, are based in tiny Djibouti, a former French colony across the Mandab Straits from Yemen.  American Special Forces, (and, one would assume, Central Intelligence Agency officers), are based as a quick-reaction force for the entire Horn of Africa region.  A more recent, and so far tactically successful intervention, was American aid for the Ethiopian invasion/intervention against Islamist forces in Somalia in December of 2006. U.S. Special Forces traveled with the Ethiopian Army, and the U.S. military launched air and missile attacks on suspected Somali Islamists and al-Qaida fugitives.

American Special Forces also have aided allied nations in improving their defenses, including the Republic of Georgia (formerly an oppressed region of the late, unlamented Soviet Union), who have their own issues as a neighbor of Russia and the rebellious Muslim Russian region of Chechnya.

During last summer’s war in the Mid-East between Israel and Hezbollah, the U.S. re-supplied the Israeli military with ammunition and other materiel to aid the Israelis in their fight against the Islamic militant army.

The U.S. has also given significant material aid to Lebanon in its recent fight against al-Qaida allies in northern Lebanon.

Al-Qaida of course, has not been idle, as bin Laden’s organization maintains insurgencies against U.S. allies in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Thailand, Algeria, Egypt, Libya (yes, the U.S. and Libya kissed and made up, largely because Kaddafy saw the ease with which American forces seized Baghdad), Ethiopia, and is active in undermining government authority in other nations. 

Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida declared war on America in 1996, and few Americans paid him any attention.  He attacked us in 1998, with the African Embassy bombings, and again in 2000, with an attack on the USS Cole.  The assault on 9/11/2001 finally snapped America out of its comfortable sense of security, and the United States launched its Global War on Terror.  Does anyone doubt that this is truly a "World War?"

We will come back to this theme in the future…


The Calm Before The Storm: The World of September 10, 2001

10 Sep

Here it is; the eve of another 9/11 anniversary.  I no longer bother watching the politicians give speeches at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, or in Pennsylvania.  Six years on now, and I look at a changed world.

Prior to September 11, 2001, few Americans, even those who watched the news regularly or read the newspapers would could have told you anything about Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, or the Taliban if asked.  Never mind that bin Laden had declared war on the U.S. back in 1996, and then followed up with attacks against American Embassies in Africa in 1998 and an attack on the USS Cole in 2000; Americans, as a whole, had no idea what was about to hit us.

In the world of September 10, 2001, America’s (and President Bush’s) primary international fear was China.  A recent collision between American and Chinese military planes had caused a ripple of concern for relations between the two powers.  American students generally cared little for the outside world.  The Middle East was known primarily as the place a lot of oil came from, and the location of Saddam Hussein.  By the way, it is generally forgotten that the U.S. and the U.K. were actively conducting aerial warfare against Iraq, and protecting/occupying a large swath of northern Iraq inhabited by the long-oppressed Kurds.

And then there was Afghanistan.  A country largely ignored by America and the non-Islamic world after the big, bad Soviets ended their war against Islamic Jihadists.  Bin Laden was a part of that Islamic resistance movement, but few Americans outside of the CIA and a few history/military affairs geeks among the civilian population bothered to remember that bin Laden (like Saddam in another war), was once on the side that was shooting at our avowed enemies.  Did that make them our friends?  No, just useful tools to fight and weaken our opponents of the moment.

So what does all this talk of the world as it stood on the day before al-Qaida attacked America really mean?  Only that history often turns on events that have links and connections to related, yet often largely unknown events, movements, and people.

Should Americans have seen bin Laden as a vital threat?  Obviously yes, we should have seen him as the threat he proved himself to be.  Are we any different now?  Has America learned its lesson yet? 

Of course not!  Ask any high school or college history teacher in the U.S.  Americans as a whole do not pay much attention to history (unless presented on the History Channel and features lots of explosions and maybe a glimpse or two of Hitler), and that is an ongoing problem.  How many Americans can answer this question?

Has the U.S. and China ever fought a war against each other?  And if so, can you name the wars?  Can you, Dear Reader of this Blog, answer that question without googling it?

This is not an idle question, because one of the more obvious results of the 9/11 attacks and America’s response has been the now four-year-old War in Iraq.  The current war is often compared and contrasted with the American war in Vietnam.  Is it accurate to compare them?  What are the consequences of America’s collective lack of knowledge of the world and its history?  Middle East Muslims remember and talk about the medieval Crusades like they happened last year.  Most Americans could not even explain what the Crusades were about.  Those questions are best addressed in a blog post for another day.  

The next History Guy Blog post will actually be about 9/11 and what has so far resulted from that horrible day.  Stay tuned!


Pakistan’s Waziristan War is Once More in the News

16 Jul

I wrote about Pakistan’s Waziristan War a few months ago on, and commented on how this conflict on Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier is an extension of the War on Terror and the War in Afghanistan.  To summarize, Pakistan is fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida in the border region near Afghanistan.  Late in 2006, President Musharraf signed a peace treaty with the local tribes, supposedly ending that conflict, much to the dismay of the Western allies, who saw this as a Taliban/al-Qaida victory. 

Now, a week or so after the Red Mosque battle, the militant Islamists are again beating the war drums along the frontier; killing dozens of Pakistani troops in recent days.  Musharraf made a big mistake in giving the enemy a breather from the cross-border pressure the Pakistan army and the Western Allies were giving them.  Let’s hope he responds vigorously and works with the U.S. and the other allies to hurt the Taliban and al-Qaida.

For more information, see:

And for background info on Britain’s problems in that region as a colonial ruler, see:


France at War: French Military Victories and Defeats

12 May

Here is some  information on the wars and military conflicts of France from World War I in 1914  to the present. Since 1945, France has engaged in several large wars (Indochina, Korea, Algeria, Suez, the First Gulf War) and numerous small colonial conflicts and post-colonial interventions in African nations. To access specific wars or conflicts, click on the red/maroon colored links.

Despite recent jokes concerning French military defeats and victories in French military history, France has a fair share of victories in the Third World, and as a valuable member of NATO and the Western allies in the Cold War and beyond.

World War One (1914-1918)

Intervention in the Russian Civil War (1918-1921)

Rif War (aka-Abd el-Krim Revolt) (1919-1926)

French Conquest of Syria (1919-1920)

Memel Insurrection (1923)–Following World War I, the French military controlled and administered the city of Memel on behalf of the wartime Allies, in the Baltic Region. Lithuanian residents rebelled against the French army on January 11, 1923. Troops from Lithuania joined the rebels and seized control of the city. The Allies accepted this takeover, and Memel in effect became part of Lithuania.

The Ruhr Invasion (1923-1924)

Syrian Druze Revolt (1925-1927)

France/Syria/Lebanon Druze Revolt 1925-1927

The Nghe-Tinh Revolt (1930-1931) A Vietnamese peasant revolt with backing and support from the underground Vietnamese Communist Party. French forces suppressed the local soviets (A soviet is a council of peasants, workers or soldiers in a socialist or revolutionary form of government) which formed in local villages. Many of these revolutionaries were arrested and at least 80 were executed by the colonial government. . See also The Wars of Vietnam.

Yen Bai uprising (Feb. 9, 1930) A rebellion launched by the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang, (VNQDD — Vietnamese Nationalist Party–See external link) began as a planned mutiny of native Vietnamese troops in the Yen and Bai garrisons. Other attacks on Son Tay and Lam Thu failed. The French suppressed the uprising, arresting executing many VNQDD leaders. Several villages were bombed and shelled by French forces. . See also The Wars of Vietnam.

Syrian Revolt (1936)

World War Two (1939-1945)–France was conquered by Germany in 1940, and liberated by the Allies in 1944.

Franco-Japanese Border War  (Sept. 22, 1940-Sept. 24, 1940)–Soon after France fell to Germany, Japan sought passage through French Indochina in order to attack Nationalist Chinese forces near the border. French authorities in Hanoi refused, prompting Japan to launch a ground attack on the French border forts at Long-Son and Dong-Dang. Two days later, Japanese aircraft bombed the port city of Haiphong and the Japanese navy landed troops at the port. During the two days of fighting, nearly 800 French troops were killed. (Part of World War Two for France)

Franco-Thai Border War (Jan. 9, 1941-Jan. 28, 1941)–Thailand, then an ally of Japan, initiated an invasion of French Indochina after early border skirmishes from November 1940. After early successes, the Thai forces were forced back by French reinforcements. At sea, the French navy, in the form of one cruiser, wiped out nearly one third of the Thai navy off the island of Kho Chang on Jan. 17. Japan arranged a cease-fire on Jan. 28. Per a written agreement signed on March 11, France gave portions of Laos and Cambodia to Thailand.
Franco-Syrian War (May, 1945)–At the conclusion of the Second World War, French troops put down a rebellion in the French-controlled Arab nation of Syria.

The First Indochina War (1945-1954)–A French colony since the late 1880s, Indochina was made up of the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia,and Laos. Communist insurgents led by Ho Chi Minh defeated French forces, causing the independence of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. As a result of the peace agreement, Vietnam became divided into Communist North Vietnam and the pro-Western South Vietnam. This conflict was a precursor to the American-Vietnam War.

The Cold War (1945-1991)–France participated in the Cold War as a member of the Western alliance, NATO, and also through its own policies in Africa and elsewhere promoting  pro-French and pro-Western attitudes and alliances.

The Madagascar Revolt (1947-1948)–The French military put down a rebellion in the colony of Madagascar.
The Korean War (1950-1953)–France contributed military forces to the UN Army fighting the Communist North Koreans and Chinese.

Tunisian War of Independence (1952-1955)–Guerrilla war of independence against the French began in Tunisia, led by Habib Bourguiba.

Moroccan War of Independence (1953-1956)

Franco-Tunisian Border Conflict (1957)

The Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962)–A French colony since the 1830s, Algeria gained independence in 1962 after a long and violent war against France.

Suez War (1956)–France, Britain, and Israel invaded Egypt.

Basque Separatist Campaign (1958-Present)–The Basque region is divided between Spain and France. The Basque liberation front, ETA, has carried out a campaign of urban terrorism in an attempt to gain independence/autonomy. As most Basque territory is in Spain, the bulk of the campaign has been directed at the Spanish, though French targets have been hit. France and Spain largely cooperate in suppressing ETA.

Second Franco-Tunisian War [The Bizerte Incident] (1961)

Gabon Intervention (1964)

First Katangan War (1977)

Second Katangan War (1978)

Shaba II: The French and Belgian Intervention in Zaire in 1978

Central African Republic Intervention (September, 1979)–France organized and aided a coup to overthrow Emperor Jean-Bodel Bokassa. French troops were flown in from Europe and installed former President David Dacko.

Intervention in Lebanese Civil War (1982-1984)–France, along with the United States, United Kingdom, and Italy, sent troops to act as peacekeepers in the Lebanese Civil War and the Invasion of Lebanon by Israel.

New Caledonian Uprising (1984-1985)

Gabon Intervention (May, 1990)

Second Persian Gulf War (1991)–France contributed military forces to the UN force to liberate Kuwait from the invading Iraqi army of Saddam Hussein.

Intervention in Somalia (1991-1992)–France contributed military forces to the UN peacekeeping force in Somalia.

Central African Republic Intervention (April, 1996)–French troops put down a C.A.R. army mutiny.

Central African Republic Intervention (May, 1996)–French troops put down another C.A.R. army mutiny.

Central African Republic Intervention (Nov. 1996-Jan. 1997)–French troops put down yet another C.A.R. army mutiny.

Kosovo War (1999)-France contributed military forces to the NATO effort to protect the Kosovo Albanians from the persecution by the Serbian military and militias.

Afghanistan War (2001-Present)-France contributed military forces to the Allied/NATO effort to overthrow the Taliban following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. France continues to supply troops and aircraft to operations supporting the new Afghan government against Taliban and al-Qaida insurgents.

Ivory Coast (Cote de Ivorie) Intervention (2003-Present)-France intervened to bring a halt to the civil war in its former colony. During one clash, the French military avenged the death of several troops by destroying the small Ivory Coast air force as it sat on the ground.

Central African Republic Intervention (2006)–French troops and aircraft aid the government against rebels.


America and France: A Long Relationship Spanning War and Peace

10 May

The recent election of  Nicolas Sarkozy as the new President of France brings the issue of French-American relations to mind.  The U.S. and France have a long but strange relationship, often centered on the question of war and peace, that literally goes back to before the founding of the United States as a nation.

When the original Thirteen Colonies were indeed colonies of the British Empire and Canada belonged to France, nearly continual warfare blazed across the frontier between English and French America.  Eventually, the British won the wars and expelled the French Empire from Canada, but this conflict helped spark the idea of autonomy and outright independence in the minds of many influential American-English colonists.

As most school children in America know, France was America’s most important ally in the War of Independence.  French aid was critical to the British defeat, but the consequences of this military intervention for the French monarchy were eventually negative.  Part of the economic problems France experienced which led to the French Revolution (which broke out only 8 years after the Franco-American victory at Yorktown), were brought on by the financial burden of fighting the Revolutionary War in America, as well as the philosophical and political ideas that crossed the Atlantic from America. 

Ironically, many Americans were horrified by the violence of the French Revolution, and tensions built up that led to the so-called "Quasi-War" between the United States and Revolutionary France.  This naval war lasted from 1798 to 1800.  Two years later, the new French Emperor, Napoleon I, sold France’s Louisiana colony to the United States.  He needed the money to fight his wars against Britain.  The Louisiana Purchase, as it is known in the U.S., effectively doubled the size of the country.

Relations between the United States and France reached another low point during the American Civil War, which coincided with a French invasion of Mexico, which is America’s southern neighbor.  France (and Britain), considered intervening in the Civil War on behalf of the breakaway Confederate States of America (the South).  President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed a majority of American slaves, along with U.S. victories in the war, convinced France and Britain to remain neutral.  Following the fall of the South in 1865, the U.S. supported the Mexican government both diplomatically and militarily (there was a very real threat by the U.S. to send in troops).  This support helped the current French Emperor, Napoleon III, to end his ill-conceived war in Mexico.

For the remainder of the 1800s, the U.S. pretty much ignored European issues.  The outbreak of war in Europe in 1914, in what would eventually become known as World War One, set the scene for America’s first military intervention in Europe.

America declared war on Germany and her allies in 1917, and millions of U.S. troops entered France to help her fight the invading Germans.  Many Americans saw this aid to France as payback for French help against the British in the American Revolution.  The U.S. later saved France again when we again sent millions of troops to liberate her from the Germans in World War Two.  (See the Invasion of Normandy).

After World War Two, America and France both joined (as founders) the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, (NATO), which was created in order to stop the spread of Communism in Europe. Since the end of World War Two, the U.S. and France have been allies in the Korean War, the First Gulf War, and in the current War in Afghanistan.  We have also supported each other in other ways as well.  For example, when France fought in Vietnam in the 1940s and 1950s, the U.S. supplied a great deal of military material and money to help the French fight against the Vietnamese Communists. 

The two old allies have disagreed sharply on several issues, such as the Anglo-French Invasion of Egypt in 1956 and the current War in Iraq, but overall, history shows that France and the United States are old, old, friends.  Friends who occasionally squabble and argue, but when it comes down to it, they do support each other.  The election of Sarkozy, who readily admires America and American culture, should help ease recent tensions between the two allies.