National Security Brief: June 10, 2011

Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in his final policy address at a European think-tank that NATO risks “collective military irrelevance” unless its European members boost their military spending.

Haaretz has acquired Israeli Foreign Ministry cables that show the Ministry urging its diplomats to convey the message that the formation of a Palestinian state by the UN would delegitimize Israel and damage the prospects for future peace talks.

Pakistan’s army Chief called for U.S. military aid to be replaced with civilian assistance, an announcement reflecting recent criticism of Pakistan’s armed forces.

Egypt’s economy has slowed to an annual growth rate of 2 percent, an economic standstill in a country where a poorly performing economy and inequities helped fuel public support for the toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s government. The 18 day revolution brought a stop in foreign investment and badly damaged Egypt’s sizable tourism industry.

With no deal yet to keep U.S. forces in Iraq beyond the end of this year, politicians and military commanders there said the country’s own forces remain dysfunctional as chains of command are skirted in favor of centralized control by Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters that “at least 2,400 Syrians had crossed into Turkey to flee the violence. Refugees and aid officials said thousands more remained trapped on the Syrian side.”

Britain’s Middle East minister Alistair Burt, issuing warnings about post-Gaddafi Libya, refused to rule out the possibility of international peacekeeping forces. “[T]he UN plainly has a role,” he said.

As the Libyan rebels slowly gain international recognition, a cohort of the countries intervening there pledged more than a billion dollars to aid them, though the money still faces legal hurdles.

The European Union will have a new member state. The EU commission today approved Croatia’s application to join the Union, which will likely begin in 2013.