In a June 10 address to the Brussels-based think tank Security and
Defence Agenda, Gates did not provide details of the roles of Jordan and
Morocco, Middle East Newsline reported. Both Arab League states have been members of NATO's Mediterranean
Dialogue, established in 1994.
"I am not sure we would have moved forward to the UN, even undertaking
this enterprise, had it not been for the vote in the Arab League that then
paved for the UN Security Council resolutions," Gates, in his last official
policy address, said.
Officials said Jordan and Morocco have served support roles in the NATO
mission in Libya. They said Qatar and the UAE were conducting air strike
operations through their fleets of Mirage-2000 and F-16 fighter-jets.
Despite Arab support, Gates warned that NATO lacked combat support in
the campaign against the Gadhafi regime. He said that fewer than half of
the 28 members were participating in the no-fly zone mission and fewer than
a third were conducting air strikes. Several of the participants were
already warning that they could run out of ammunition over the next few
"The mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an
operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country —
yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S.,
once more, to make up the difference," Gates said.
The war in Libya could turn NATO into what Gates termed a two-tier
alliance, with a few members capable of combat missions and the rest unable
to do more than fulfill humanitarian roles. He said only five of the 28
allies have exceeded the NATO benchmark to spend two percent of their gross
development product on defense.
"This is no longer hypothetical worry," Gates said. "We are there today
and it is unacceptable. Looking ahead to avoid the real possibility of
collective military irrelevance, member nations must examine new approaches
to boosting combat capabilities in procurement in training in logistics."