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. Kyle

    Although I agree with some of this list's rating scale it appears to have a few major flaws, if any of you had clicked the overall rankings link to see how this so called failed states list is rated, you would have a better understanding of what they are trying to show. The problem I see with this list, is the fact that a country's economic power and their appointment of exterior aid is just as heavily weighted as wether or not there is continuous genocide and terrorist based violence within the country. They need to show the subcategories and breakdown of how and why they have given each set of scores because frankly, lack of gdp vrs. overall amounts of roads and cars vrs number of hospitals and available medical assistance and funding, are very different from one another. Pretty much all of the issues rated are generally affected by a single more dominant problem, and on a ratings scale this should be addressed. For many of these countries there are no available medical resources (like birth control) let alone the proper hospitals to even have a safe birthing process.
    It makes me wonder every time I read peoples comments on these articles, how many of these "seriously" opinionated people have ever been outside of the U.S. and Canadian borders. And going to Mexico to drink $20 margaritas in a five star swimming pool doesn't count. But then again, if you noticed that the FP is a subdivision of the washington post company you'll understand many of the reasons behind some of their choices. Being such a perfect, chiming organization of no flaws.

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

    i can see islamophobes in these comments going 'notice most countries are islamic' . and its 5 muslim countries and 5 christian countries .

    June 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Spear

      See what religion does to countries? It creates one more way and reason to hate. With the power of religion, one could destroy the world.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
    • uzair

      True.. I do not understand why people blame religion for everything, I blame ideologies, and it can any ideology, World wars did not happen cause of religion, but millions of christian whites killed each othe.
      Vietnam was not a religious war
      Cold war and the subsequent proxy wars around the world funded by russia and america were not religious wars
      If you are not religious, but dont become an extremist and make up lies

      June 19, 2012 at 5:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bill

    We, the US, have been robbed. We belong in the Top 10. We are #1 in everything, ain't we? Please, CNN, say it isn't so.

    June 18, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. stateschool

    Operation: Put Iraq on the Top Ten List of Failed States. Mission Accomplished.

    June 18, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alex

    Finland, the most stable country ? Are you kidding. The population of their whole country is the same as the Russian city of St.Petersburg, which is 100 miles from Finland. Does not matter how stable Finland is internally, they have an ugly and unstable neigbors. An event like civil war in Russia can threaten the Finlands very existence.

    June 18, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnson

      Finland has the best schools and highest education rate. Due to their successful schools, finland is also one of the most technologically advanced countries. I think this goes hand in hand with the stability of a country,

      June 19, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. gargle

    2 for 10. Come on US military, lets get 'em all!

    June 19, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tim

    Correction Ken margo: all ten of America's poorest states are controlled by Republicans; and nine of the ten are in the south. Montana is the oddball.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • j.e burton

      The poorer states always vote GOP. Why? I don't know. The least educated states are GOP states.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. NudeTruth

    With all the illegals flowing in, that's not surprising.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • momrouy

      what about canada

      June 19, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sampsonite

    No United States of America or Pakistan? Interesting.

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

    How is Mexico not higher up on that list.... I don't understand it.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Carlo

      Well no wonder you don't understand.. because you know nothing in regards to Mexico. Mexico is one of the fastest growing economies. Increasing GDP and such are included in that. You should focus your attention away from the media and get out more often.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. CoolDadOf2

    This list is a joke. If you follow the link to the FP article, you will see Greece is ranked as one of the most stable states! Italy and Spain are ranked even better! China is ranked 76, Greece 138 and Spain 153. I guess economic collapse is not a factor for stability.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. nirm

    5 countries are islamic the other 5 black. Nurture and Nature. Now, dont shoot the messenger.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay Reardon

      A "black" country? Is that the opposite of a"caucasian" country? Anyway, it's quite obvious that U.S. intervention and war-making in Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and Yemen is doing a bang-up job. Time to increase the defense budget so we can work on all 10.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. nirm

    Yeah! It's all America's fault. Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan were vacation paradises rivaling Iran and Syria before the American's messed them up. America is so bad, but it is so powerful that it can make good Muslim countries go bad just by burping, and what it is not in the top 10 failed county list! Talk about incoherence of the Oikophobes.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. alaird123

    as a world traveller currently living in Nepal (#27 on the list) I mostly agree with the rankings . The comments of posters below that suggest places like Mexico..or even the US need to be on the TOP 10 List..are ignorant to so many things in the world. A "failed state" dosent ness. mean the people are poverity stricken...if you ckick on the link it gives a handful of categories that explain the rankings...the basic rights of citizens, the gap between rich and poor, refugee number...all things that contribute make making the top ten among the worst of the worst.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |

    Name a nation where the ecomomic and quality of life conditions have benefited the majority of populace. and in fact not Increased the gap between rich and poorAlmost every nation Euro/ Brit and US take an I.teresr in benefits them more than local populace
    The numbers are staggering when it comes to economicly impoverishing those nations, where soon so much of their GDP and natural redources cannot be used within own nations just to pay of debts to foreign banks.
    Bangla Deshl is today in worst condition economicly than ever before, where eben during a natural disaster they cannot use own natural gas due to it having to pay national debt down.
    Iraq will never be ad wealthy as they were I. past and no matter the huge amounts of resources sent out of country in years padt the general populations never benefit within each nation an elite minority gets formed that actively join in looting of own nations because it pays well to do so.
    The brain drain from so many nations rob the future generations of any thing other than being vassel states to outside econom
    That the elites within foreign policy ranks or employ of Eurocentrics live well and end up hanging with elites of foreign nations not as peers but ovrrseers is the norm.

    June 19, 2012 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
    • BigHwasdemo

      You are putting out a lot of info, but do you have any solutions? We all have a good idea of the problems, nobody wants to state the "REAL POLITIQUE" solutions. How about confiscation? How about one world government? How about central control of all materials and assets? The US has the man for the job...Obama.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
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