Somalia tops failed states index for fifth year
African Union soliders like these shown in Somalia this month are fighting Islamic militant group Al-Shabaab.
June 18th, 2012
03:25 PM ET

Somalia tops failed states index for fifth year

Six African nations are in the top 10 of an annual failed-state index, including Somalia, which heads the list for the fifth straight year after continued struggles with lawlessness and piracy.

Somalia tops the 2012 Failed States Index because of “widespread lawlessness, ineffective government, terrorism, insurgency, crime, and well-publicized pirate attacks against foreign vessels,” the list’s compiler, Washington-based nonprofit Fund for Peace, said on its website Monday.

The group’s eighth annual list, which ranks instability risks of 177 nations based on 12 social, economic and political indicators, was published Monday by Foreign Policy magazine. Nations ranking high on the list aren’t necessarily failed states, but are facing enormous pressure stemming from factors such as uneven development, economic decline and human-rights issues, according to Fund for Peace.

The top 10 nations on the 2012 Failed States Index are:

1) Somalia

2) Democratic Republic of Congo

3) Sudan

4) Chad

5) Zimbabwe

6) Afghanistan

7) Haiti

8) Yemen

9) Iraq

10) Central African Republic

See Foreign Policy's interactive Failed States Index map

Foreign Policy magazine notes that Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, is enjoying a period of relative peace. CNN has reported that African Union troops last year pushed Al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group affiliated with al Qaeda, out of central Mogadishu after years of bitter urban fighting.

But battles between the groups continue elsewhere in Somalia. And last week, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama for the first time publicly stated that U.S. military forces are engaged in direct action against suspected terrorists in Somalia.

The biggest shifts happened outside the top 10 - mostly rankings of countries that experienced uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East last year. The worst decline was in Libya, which went from well outside the top 60 to No. 50 "as a result of civil war, a NATO-led campaign of airstrikes and the toppling of the (Gadhafi) regime," the Fund for Peace said.

Syria, where an uprising has endured for more than a year, registered the fourth-greatest single-year jump in the index's history (from No. 48 in 2011 to No. 23 in 2012).

Haiti, which jumped to the top 10 last year after 2010's devastating earthquake, is the list's sole Western Hemisphere representative in the top 10.

Other notable rankings: Pakistan, No. 13; North Korea, No. 22; Iran, No. 34; United States, No. 159. Finland was considered the most stable, at No. 177.

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Filed under: Somalia • World
soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. Youthful Citizen

    Someone explain to me how BANKRUPT Greece ain't in the top 10 or the United States with our idiotic congress that can't pass any laws due to bipartisan fighting? I'm just saying....

    June 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Luc

    I love these failed states reports... Easy to point to all that's wrong with our country...I'm from the Central African Republic...and yes we do have probelms.. but come on...I don't feel that all is DOOM and Gloom...Yes we do have political problems, and things to deal with but come on! What do you exactly mean by Failed States!
    THe continent is still going through some challenges.. but things are getting better...We still very much suffer from the colonial ages.. and our leadership in general is still from the old mentality / uneducated school..give us another 10-15 yrs, as the old leaders die off, the younger generation will rise... "Failed States"..Please... We've got nothing to envy... It's our desitniy, and we'll keep striving for a better future...

    June 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • yuri pelham

      Don't you think African countries would have been better off remaining colonies? Where would YOU rather live... Zimbabwe or Rhodesia?

      June 21, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. wOT

    Please stop the fighting and start feeding the people! why not drop bread instead of bombs!

    June 20, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill clinton

      not bread...more bombs. we need to exterminate everything on that continent and rebuild it. if africa were still colonies they would be fueling the rest of the world economy which last i checked, is pretty well entact.

      June 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sALADOR1254

    Is it just me or does it seem that this trend will NEVER change. Africa needs to be taken over by people that have a sense of future accomplishment. Middle East....once we get rid of demand for will dry up and all you will have is sand....the way you act that is all you deserve! Just sayin....

    June 21, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. lucius sulla

    Why the UN don't just dissolve Somalia and split it between Kenya and Ethiopia is not a real country is more like a territory of lawlessness if anything it looks more like a modern Tortuga Pirate heaven the last the world needs is another puny P.S. country that don't even deserve to exist.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. yuri pelham

    2 failed states maybe due to us. As odious as Saddam was Iraq would not be failed state. And am I the only one who knows that Afghanistan is not a state but just a collection of tribes that can't always get along except to destroy empires like Greece (long ago) , Britain, Soviet Union, and now us. Decolonization was a big mistake. Those countries need caretakers.

    June 21, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Name*kabasu

    Thanks to Mr Kabilarkamange. Congo is at the top after Somali.

    July 1, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. mohamed ubeyd mohamud

    somalia will be out of the failed state lists, if the current progress continue in a country and become one the peaceful countries in the world inshalah.

    August 31, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
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