The Rise of Extremism in Somalia

Remember Black Hawk Down ? The Horn of Africa has long been a haven for extremists, and now it's back in the news

Mustafa Abdi / AFP / Getty

An al-Shabab spokesman, Mukhtar Robow, center, holds a press conference in October 2008.

On the night of Sept. 21 last year, U.S. diplomatic staff in South Africa were telephoned at home and told not to go to work the next day. A State Department official refused to explain the warning, but a Western intelligence officer in Africa told TIME the alarm was raised after a phone call from an al-Qaeda operative to a number in Cape Town was intercepted — a call in which an attack on U.S. government buildings in South Africa was discussed. No attack took place, and after three days, the embassy in Pretoria and three consulates reopened. But with South...

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