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. American

    Hey what about Mexico, with the drug Cartels? Police is just as corrupt as soldiers in Somalia or Uganda.
    more killings and beheadings in one day than Somalia killing it's own citizens.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Raz

      No, they aren't. There is no comparison between Mexico and Somalia. Mexico has a government. They have problems, yes, but Somalia can't even boast of having a government.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Typical

      Typical brainless comment. Mexico might not be as "stable" as the US or Canada, but to suggest that it is on par with these African nations is ludicrous. Mexico has a huge problem, no debate there. The Cartels are powerful and violent. But the real problem is caused by us in the US with the demand for drugs and the supply of guns. Any country located between us and the drug producers in South America is bound to have issues. Even if Switzerland was south of the border, they would have cartel issues.

      Visit Mexico once and then visit Somalia and come back and post (if you return alive from Somalia)

      June 18, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • angela birch

      Actually not. I suspect you have no idea what is going on in Somalia.

      I note that after all US deaths Iraqi deaths and massive amounts of debt incurred Iraq is a failing state. Something it was not under Saddam Huessain All those American lives lost to make thinge even worse in Iraq.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigHwasdemo

      But they are voting for Obama so he kept them out of the top 10.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • TiredOfPaying

      The violence in Mexico is caused by our failed War on Drugs. End it, Legalize and TAX!

      June 19, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |

    Of the list US African Command has bern involved militarily got the last. 10 years minimum and there is indeed deposits of oil but oil is not the driving factor for ours and Euro.Israel strstegic needs, it is vast mineral deposits of all types.
    The largest mainly untapped minetal deposits on earth reside thete amd up until just recently it was a land where the wralthiest Israeli, German
    Dutch and Canadian billionaires rippped out the quick easys
    The costliest so called rare earth minerals that without which we cannot begin to run our tevhnological world and per ounce they make even platinum seem cheap.
    The world Bank already has plana on bpoks to have those nations take out loans for, not 1 but 3 of worlds largest hydr-electric projects to date.
    Odd As even 1 project would more than triple amiunt if energy African Comtinent uses.
    France has long depended on the illega billioaire minig bots because Those poor central nations uranium ores are most pyre along with copper as well.
    In fact at one time Frenchand Dutch ran area but today it is primarily a dollar/Euro/amd Piund runshow.
    US has spent hundreds if bullions in Kenya and Uganda building up proxy military forces. some who participate with our spec gorce Africa Command based out of Italy.
    So you see iur benevolent Uncle who says we people here must cut back has been very busy.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. PaulTinEG

    Interesting headline term (failed state) and statement in paragraph 3 which states that nations on the list aren't necessarily failed states. Same paragraph ranks "instability" vs failed. The writer needs to study Journalism 101.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jay

    it's pretty interesting that North Korea isn't on the list. The fact that Kim is the one of the richest people in the world. But Im guessing they are somewhere between Top 10~20?

    June 18, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      oops, never mind. they are 22nd

      June 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • angela birch

      The Kim's are well off by sucking the blood of the North Korean people ( it is good to be king, though not very moral) but His wealth compared to the wealth of many people in the world is really relatively small. He has massive power in his own country but that is not because of his relatively modest wealth.( Estimated to be between 250 million and 500 million) but because he literally has the power of life and death over evey one of the people he controls, not with money but he can have them tortured to death on a whim.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. EuroZone Observer

    Now if the US can start more wars with countries, we will see more in the the top 10.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Eric

    It is mind boggling that North Korea didn't make the list. There country is one massive NAZI style concentration camp... with actual labor and death camps.. and every citizen is a prisoner / slave to the State yet were not mentioned. Unbelievable. Africa would be better then North Korea.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. max

    Put the US in the top 10. The quickly growing massive 16 Trillion dollar debt mountain will soon begin to collapse Washington. We all know that Democrats and Republicans will never consede enough to create anything close to balanced budgets. Face it, in 10 years the US will be no different then the old Roman and British Empires. The dollar will not exist.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken margo

      You want to lower the debt? Cut back on the population growth by insisting people use birth control. There isn't a system (socialism, communism, capitalism) that can take care of unlimited amounts of people! The The U.S. in particular and world in general is wayyyyyy over crowded.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • angela birch

      Nonsense we have owed more in contant dollars in the past and pulled out of it relatively quickly. If coures in those days Americans were willing to pay taxes. We pay the lowest taxes in 60 years and just can't help but whine about it. If we paid the same percentage of taxes our parents paid we wouldn't have the debt we have today.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |

    Since CNN has no flesh on its story lines and won't allow any to be added, just think "RARE EARTH MINERALS" and worlds largest mainly untapped mineral fieldWhatever you do.
    ,do not mentionathe members of a small but powerfull ME state who robbed those nations blind for US and Euro interest nand today onlyhave safe havens in Canada, Austraila anZ US and Britai.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ken margo

    Notice how many islamic countries in the top ten. Also note in the U.S. out of the 10 poorest states, eight are run by Republicans.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigHwasdemo

      And populated by africans and mexicans, what's a poor republican to do with the democrat leftovers?

      June 19, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Mexico needs to be on that list due to the drug cartels, corruption, and the fact that a good portion of their population sneak into other countries to escape their own country.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • angela birch

      Not much of a percentage. Mexico has 112 million people and the US has about 1 million illegal immigrants in most years and less than half of those are Mexicans.. four tenths of one percent is hardly a "good percentage".

      June 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |

    I can type but the damn letters on this darn expensive phone and the letters small to boot.
    Who worries about being credible on CNN opinions, as no one changes their pre concieved ideas, and while I to thisday usesame three source( reputable) as I once used in researching for bloggers and others. thete is nothing to be done about world events but to know of them.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dazzle ©

    @HIDE BEHIND, I do appreciate your ideas and I will sometimes use my phone to blog and with a tiny keyboard and screen it is difficult. Don't worry about it and just ignore the punctuation police.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. George

    Pakistan should also be in the list of failed states

    June 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • JayHawk

      Well Pakistan is at rank 13 which indicates that its a failed state.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ken margo

    People, It says TOP TEN. you're only going to see ten. There are probably 50 more countries you can add before you get to the country you want to add.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kabeshi

    Yes these are failed states but the West and China are raking billions of dollars from the same listed countries. War is a business, is it not? Among these countries I doubt if there is any that has a factory to manufacture bullets.Looking at Congo, mines are flourishing at the expense of the little man and those areas are untouched by violence. So, in the midst of chaos the so called smarts are making money without royalties or taxes to the state.

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