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. michaeldw

    Congrats Somalia!

    June 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trip

      Finland is the most stable because the men are to busy keeping their nads from freezing off to get into any mischief.

      June 18, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |

    Within our Straussian political and economic foreign policy mindset, not all men are created equal and it is the duty of those who are above the less qualified to install a strong centrally controlled foundation of good governance.
    No. modern society can be left to its own devices, all must conform to a modified form of economic democracy.
    Any and all not just nations but landmasses must be so organized.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |

    Just a coincidence thatall of nations mentioned are being modified By US military.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ddpp

    keep up the good work Somalia !

    June 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. perkin warbeck

    nice job've won a free weekend in Detroit.

    June 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. perkin warbeck

    keep pluggin'' ll make it soon.

    June 18, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pr

    you will miec it you have agood niber sooumal

    June 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Missing hump

    And to think – those 100 camels could have jinxed the whole assessment!

    June 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dazzle ©

    Glad to see that no one is surprised by these stats. If the US keeps up as it is, it will make the top 10.

    June 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • ReadTheStory


      June 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ddpp

    someone has to be biased against Pakistan when preparing a list of top ten failed states ! I was hoping they would be runner up, if not the winner.

    June 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. larry jones

    name something they all have in common......Muslims!!!!

    June 18, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick Portland

      Good point...don't know how I missed that... 🙂

      June 18, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Muhe

      Haitian Muslims? Or is the common thread is oppressed by the europeans, russians etc? Gotta love americans who have never lived abroad.

      June 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Hope

    We take so much for granted. I couldn't imagine living in such unstable conditions... such suffering.


    June 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Patrick Portland

    No big surpises here....Africa is a cesspool...suprised Pakistan didn't make the list of such notables...

    June 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Patrick Portland

    Keep plugging Obama – you'll get us into the top 10 soon....

    June 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BloggerBlahBlahBlah

    Haiti will soon be Off that list
    they had the best GDP growth this year in the Caribbean, in 3 years Haiti will surpass many of its Caribbean neighbors.

    June 18, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
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