Top military officials from Iran, Iraq and Syria met to discuss working closer together and aligned their policies in what may be bad news for the U.S.
As Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani was honored at home, Iran built new trade ties with Iraq and Syria to counter U.S. sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suddenly quit his post after being excluded from a visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, now the Arab leader's invited him to meet in Damascus.
"American troops have been in Afghanistan for nearly 18 years, Iraq since 2003 and in Syria since 2015," Senator Bernie Sanders said.
Syrian troops backed by Russia and Iran have taken swaths of land from ISIS, and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have just begun their final fight.
U.S.-backed Kurdish forces are poised to seize control of the remaining ISIS stronghold in Syria.
"They want us to kill guys compassionately and only under the rules of engagement that they say to," Representative Duncan Hunter complained.
Veteran Middle East hands worry that the president's blunders and Iranian overreactions could lead to a shooting conflict nobody wants.
President Donald Trump said that it "should be formally announced sometime next week that we will have 100 percent of the caliphate."
"Iraq's constitution does not allow our territory of our country to be used against our neighbors," President Barham Salih said.
"It definitely rattled people," a former senior U.S. administration official told The Wall Street Journal. "People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that "America has always been a liberating force, not an occupying power, in the Middle East," but Syria would disagree.
A Japanese passport permits travel to 190 countries either visa-free or with a visa upon arrival. The weakest passport, by contrast, grants access to only 30.
The U.S.-built BGM-71 TOW saw more action in Syria than any other anti-tank guided missile. Now these weapons could be turned on their country of origin.
Responding to the top anti-ISIS official's resignation, President Donald Trump said he did "not know" him.
With the U.S. apparently on its way out, regional powers like Iran, Iraq and Turkey are looking to step up their involvement in Syria's multi-sided war.
"It was entirely inappropriate to use that as a point of a political rally," said retired Army General Barry McCaffrey.
Two leading rival blocs of the Iraqi parliament condemned Trump's visit as a "blatant violation of Iraqi's sovereignty," while Iran-backed militias called for U.S. troops to be ousted.
Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi said that "a dramatic shift of the global center of power is taking place now from the West to the East," where Russia, China, India and Iran would rule.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough took issue with President Donald Trump seemingly inventing a huge pay raise for military members.
"What [presidents] don't do is politicize the event, and unfortunately, as we saw some of the commentary by the president today, that's exactly what he did," retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling told CNN.
The comments were made one day after the president made a surprise visit to troops in Iraq.