US Defence Secretary James Mattis bids farewell to Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (C-R) following their meeting in Riyadh on April 19, 2017. / AFP / POOL / JONATHAN ERNST
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US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met Saudi King Salman on Wednesday, beginning a series of talks to reinvigorate the Riyadh-Washington alliance in the face of common adversary Iran.Bordering Saudi Arabia, Yemen has been torn for more than two years by a civil war between Iran-backed Houthi rebels, their allies, and pro-government forces aided by a Saudi-led military coalition that receives some military support from the US.Pentagon officials have so far remained cautious on what they might do to support Saudi Arabia.Trump could also decide to reinforce support for the Arab coalition in Yemen, even if his administration wants the return "as quickly as possible" of UN-backed peace talks, as Mattis said at the start of his Saudi trip.For the first time in six years of Syria's war, the American military intervened directly against the regime of President Bashar Assad by firing 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian government airbase earlier this month.
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