Gates asks Middle East nations to help fight spread of terror

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Saturday that he wants Middle East nations to help fight the spread of violent extremism by funding and training Afghan security forces and reaching out more aggressively to the fledgling government in Iraq. Gates assured a gathering of Persian Gulf leaders in Bahrain that President-elect Barack Obama will continue the US commitment to the Middle East, including efforts to fight terrorism and develop a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Gates is the lone Republican holdover from the Bush Cabinet to the Obama team. And he issued a public warning that any effort by terrorists to test the new administration would be a mistake because there has been extensive planning to ensure a smooth transition.