It is unlikely that the appointment of Robert M. Gates will lead to a significant change in direction with regard to the Middle East War.
Washington's appointee to replace Rumsfeld at the helm of the DoD is part of the same stable of Iran-Contra officials.
The Iran-Contra Affair was a CIA sponsored covert operation during the Reagan administration which consisted in financing the Nicaraguan Contras from the proceeds of illegal covert arms sales to Iran (as well as illegal covert State-sanctioned narcotics trafficking. See "The Conspirators: Secrets opf an Iran Contra Insider" by Al Martin - Ed.)
As a senior CIA official (who was later appointed to head the agency), Robert M. Gates had close personal ties to key figures in the Iran-Contra affair. There is evidence that he lied to Congress. He was, however, never indicted nor was he formally accused of having committed acts of perjury.
"Gates was an early subject of Independent Counsel's investigation, but the investigation of Gates intensified in the spring of 1991 as part of a larger inquiry into the Iran/contra activities of CIA officials.