There's been a growing use of Special Forces to try to rescue American hostages from Islamist militants. Given the difficulties, the track record is unavoidably mixed.
There are some strange elements to this report.
The US has hit Yemen with seven drone strikes in a little more than a week.
Al Qaeda threat: Despite the seriousness of the Al Qaeda threat, the apparent targeting of US interests abroad – rather than in the US proper – suggests the group's aspirations have contracted since 9/11.
In an area largely beyond the reach of the central government, Nasser Muhtam works to bring development and civil society.