With the rise of endless irregular wars playing out in the shadows, special operations have never been more important to U.S. national security. But policymakers and commanders focus too much on dramatic raids and high-tech drone strikes. They need to pay more attention to an even more important task these forces take on: training foreign troops.
The standoff between Iran and the West has moved into the Caucasus, where both the Islamic Republic and Israel are trying to woo Azerbaijan -- a country with firm historical connections to Iran but whose interests have overlapped with those of Israel. The dynamic is upsetting the regional balance of power and threatening to overturn nearly two decades of uneasy peace.