From Positive Change to Extremist Force: The History of al-Shabab in Somalia

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One of the biggest obstacles to providing aid to those affected by the drought and famine crisis in Somalia has been the militant group al-Shabab, which controls large parts of southern Somalia. The al-Qaida-linked group is refusing to allow many Western aid organizations into the country, and at the same time is blocking people who attempt to flee. As a result, the lives of 500,000 children are at risk as they suffer from malnutrition. Al-Shabab is viewed as a dangerous and extremist force in Somalia today, but that was not always the case.

Bronwyn Bruton, author of a special report on Somalia for the Council on Foreign Relations, and Abdi Aynte, who is writing a book on al-Shabab, and recently returned from Somalia, talk about how al-Shabab went from being viewed as trusted and popular to extremist force.