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. Muhe

    They left off the USSR, East Germany, Nazi Germany, the Confederacy,the EU, Greece,and the British Empire. The World Bank, nations that destablize other nations, globalization, powerless united nations, multinational forces, Settlers/Invaders and a few to be named later.

    June 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky do see it says 2012 at the top right?

      Ridiculous comment.

      June 18, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • effelbee

      Absolutely ridiculous comment on some very serious situations in the world.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Except this is a list of current, actual nation.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • momrouy

      you left out Canada

      June 19, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Muhe

    And Foreign Policy Magazine isnt ridiculous? Fund for Peace, that's a credible source to produce the failed-state index. This isn't news this is blogging.

    June 18, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob the Cat

      So you disagree with the positions of some states? Somalia is completely fine, just us sheeples 🙂 believing that everything is messed up there?

      Haiti is in good shape?

      What IS your point?

      June 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldCactus

      They aren't nearly as ridiculous as you.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Muhe

    That the failed-state index is a blog and many of you experts have never been to the places you have commented about.

    June 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldCactus

      You need to just shutup while you still have a tiny bit of credibility.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JanetMermaid

    I can't help but notice that most of these countries are Muslim. After reading "Infidel" by Aayan Hirsi Ali I understand why this is.

    June 18, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • JaymeHume

      I will say that all of the countries mentioned above are poor countries.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • EVN

      That just happens to be the religious nut-cake flavor on the decade, and they are armed with a book that can easily be interpreted (and is so interpreted) to support killing all those who disagree with them, and even those of the same faith, but of a different stripe. Don't fret though, we have plenty of our own religious zealots busy trying to take control of political discourse and impose their narrowminded silliness on the rest of us, and given enough time and jelly back boned politicians pandering to them and America will have its own home grown version of the Taliban.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • TiredOfPaying

      I was thinking exactly the same thing. Islam – the religion of peace – strikes again.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. Susspua

    So this group (and who are they anyway?) names these African nations..... what about Greece and Syria? And Egypt?

    June 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vidhya

      Read the list directly from the source, they rank all of the nations. Yeesh.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DrPete

    glad to see our nation building racked up 3 of the top 10!

    June 18, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sam kohen

    Central African Republic has never been the same since they removed His Majesty Bokassa I. What a great man.

    June 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. EVN

    I'm curious as to where Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen were in the rankings before America got involved. Of the three, only involvement in Afghanistan made any real sense, and then we went in, did a good job initiatlly, and became distracted with Bush's war in Iraq and the fake weapons of mass destruction ploy. Oh well, at least Halliburton and other corporate favorites of Bush and Cheney made out like bandits, and what does it matter that in the wake of U.S. intervention we've left a semi-functioning society ruled by a dictator who at time was ruthless and brutal in a shambles. Time to move on to the next opportunity to line American corporations pockets with obscene profits, decimate the local population, and kill a few thousand and main many thousands more of our own soldiers, virtually none of whom came from the 1% pocketing all the profits. Wash, rinse and repeat – American capitalism at its finest.

    June 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigHwasdemo

      At least Halliburton did something as opposed to Oblamo's support of Solyndra.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. bad2worse

    U.S. #1-Fail-------------------------------- !

    June 18, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldCactus

      Is your headache getting worse?

      June 18, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. goodegyptian

    Those countries are failed states because they have no oil.

    June 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. goodegyptian

    Iraq is a failed state? Good job George Bush. It's 2012. It's been 8 years. No improvement in Iraq. You are a bad liar.

    June 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Obama is the current president, not Bush.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ?.

    What does failed state mean?

    June 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. truthplease

    To all of the people blaming this on "poverty" or "oppression"- you are not doing them any favors. Maybe poverty is a symptom of their failed societies, not a cause?

    We blame others, send money, send food, send AIDs drugs. The money gets stolen by corrupt politicians, they know that if they behave irresponibly that they will get bailed out, they cannot sustain themselves but they have children at 5x the rate of more advanced western and asian societies, they do not fear AIDs and now many african countries have 25% of their population infected with HIV.

    I am not trying to be mean nor do I condone letting people suffer- but sending these countries tons of food in the 80s without providing education, birth control, a way for them to understand real independence- all that this did was help create a population explosion where there are now 10x the number of people and they are all still hungry.

    June 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken margo

      I couldn't have written it better myself.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • TiredOfPaying

      For my entire 50+ year life we have been feeding Africa. Nothing has changed. In my book, that is a failed policy. If we would NOT have sent any aid there would be an entire continent empty and ripe for colonization. Instead, we have even MORE starvation, pain, AIDS and revolution.

      I do not support ANY aid to another country unless it actually SOLVES the problem! Is it heartless to let them starve? Or is it heartless to keep generation after generation in famine, destroying lives forever? I bet that more have died in the last 50 years than the entire population of Africa 50 years ago, and there is no end in sight.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. rob

    All of which, except for Haiti, oppress, persecute, imprison, torture, and murder their gay citizens. This isn't a coincidence. Bigoted countries are bound to fail.

    June 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigHwasdemo

      That was the only thing in the positive column for most of these countries. Gayness has done a whole lot for Haiti-LOL

      June 19, 2012 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. d

    hows libya doing ? myanmar ? east timor ? cleveland ? detroit ?

    June 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
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