Mattis Says Saudis 'Part of the Solution' in Yemen

Saudi crown prince reportedly bragged he had Jared Kushner 'in his pocket'

The U.S. signed off on a $670 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia on Thursday after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a meeting with Pentagon chief James Mattis on his visit to Washington.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, White said they discussed the security environment in the Middle East, including confronting regional threats through a united Gulf Cooperation Council.

The US Senate killed on Tuesday a resolution seeking an end to US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may be using his close relationship with White House adviser Jared Kushner to send a message to his allies and enemies that his actions were backed by the United States government, a U.S. government official told The Intercept.

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The "pocket" comment was reported on Thursday by The Intercept, which claimed that in an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia in October, Kushner disclosed the names of Saudi royal family members believed to be disloyal to Mohammed.

A USA official said the deals were in the planning process since President Donald Trump announced more than $100 billion in potential new arms contracts on a visit to Riyadh previous year.

Saudi Arabia's nuclear program is "a massive contract that also has massive geopolitical implications", according to the Soufan Group, another political consultancy.

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia commenced airstrikes in Yemen after Houthi rebels drove the internationally-recognised government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa, the Yemeni capital. In Saudi Arabia, they have found an ally whose interests, both in foreign policy and economic terms, dovetail well with those of the United States under Trump. Mattis had opposed the measure, saying it would be counterproductive by increasing civilian casualties, jeopardizing counterterrorism co-operation and emboldening Iran to increase its support for Houthi rebels. "That is the bottom line", Mattis said.

Forecast: Conditions to begin warming up in the Omaha area, starting today
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Snow showers will come to an end, with clearing skies, and a frigid overnight low temperature of 23 degrees. Be sure to dress warmly for the morning as it is a bit of a shake up compared to what we've had over the past several days.

In an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes, the crown prince shared his views on different topics, including the country's dress codes.

The Pentagon said that Mattis did not raise concerns over civilian casualties with Salman.

"Not necessarily specifically safe haven but talking about (looking) at ways to help facilitate a political reconciliation for those Taliban members who are willing to talk".

Meanwhile, the U.S. formally approved defence contracts totaling more than $1bn with Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

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Osaka had a nervy start, hitting unforced errors on her first three points on serve to face triple break point. Osaka gained the only other break of the first set with a backhand victor on the sideline to go up 5-3.

The deal includes some 6,700 US-built anti-tank missiles and support, maintenance and spare parts for American tanks, helicopters and other equipment already in Saudi Arabia's arsenal.

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