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. Claus Gehner

    This shows what a disaster US foreign/military policy is – after killing and maiming 1000's of our own and locals, after spending billions in Iraq and Afghanistan, after over ten years of neoconservative nonsense, these two countries are still on the top ten most unstable countries in the world.

    June 19, 2012 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. CelestialOne

    The World according to the WHITES ! Don't worry about the debt level. Every day is a happy, happy, joy, joy in the west.

    June 19, 2012 at 5:54 am | Report abuse |
    • wayne

      Don' let a little thing like proof get in the way of your racist thoughts, celestialone....sure there is some economic instability in Europe and the U.S., but there isn't a whole lot of civil bloodshed compared to what is going on in the Dark Continent...

      June 19, 2012 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
    • CelestialOne

      To wayne,
      Go to the source and see the ranking of all the countries in the world and not just these few countries. FP is an American magazine and Americans see their own world through rose-tinted glasses.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
    • quizzer

      When you visited these 10 countries, what were your thoughts?

      June 19, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      The last time I read about some of those countries it was about their citizens dying of aids,starvation and thirst

      Yeah,we just have it so hard here.


      June 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. Madhatter

    Wait, where is the U.S?

    June 19, 2012 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Trombonebiker

      North America

      June 19, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ken

    Maybe colonialism wasn't so bad after all. Notice that six of the ten most unstable countries are in Africa. At least under colonial rule there was stability.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Yos

      In the top ten there are Iraq and Afganistan, so why do you think is that? USA was a colony of the english, maybe that should be adressed as well.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Bithiah

      Don't even go there! There was stability BEFORE colonialism...I can cite many countries that are suffering the aftermath of colonialism. I'm really sick of westerners supremacist thinking! Seriously get off your high horses...

      June 19, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Trombonebiker

      Sure. Our dictatorism is better than their own dictators.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. p-body

    two of the countries were put there because of Americans

    June 19, 2012 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Trombonebiker

      Yes, they were doing so well under dictators, when people were killed for speaking their minds. I think Mother Nature had more to do with Haiti's demise.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. sam kohen

    Haiti has never been the same since they ousted President Duvalier. He was Haitis greatest president.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. lex

    Hey, Haiti is on the list. Once upon a time that country (if it really is one) was on the top of the list for the world's emphathy. How soon we forget. When was the last time Obama or Bill Clinton mentioned Haiti? Ofr that that one more of their failures?

    June 19, 2012 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Hexdragon

      Can Romney even find Haiti on a map?

      June 19, 2012 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ivanhoe

    For more insight into this - read the novels - king of Bat'ha - and the sequel - Tales from the East by Ivanhoe.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ivanhoe

    THose novels - king of Bat'ha - and Tales from the East by Ivanhoe - discuss the instabilities in the world in that region. Based on direct experiences.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. Trombonebiker

    Almost all Africa and the Middle East. How about checking this list with the list of the 10 worst education systems?

    June 19, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. John

    .....and a drum roll please! North Korea!!!! Wait, it's not here......WTH?

    June 19, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bill D.

    First thing I noticed was 6 of these countries are in Africa. What does that tell you?

    June 19, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • CalmDog

      You can count?

      June 19, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dave Bauer


    The KkK called asking for you – they wanted to know why you missed their last meeting. Oh and your dry cleaner called too – he said your white robes and pointy white hat are ready to be picked up.

    June 19, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  14. Daniel Hoffman

    Pakistan is the notable that worries me the most. Religious whackos with nukes... sort of like what the Tea Party wants to become.

    June 19, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • BigHwasdemo

      The Tea Party is concerned with spending more than you take in, not a religious organization. Quit spending taxpayers money on things like Solyndra, that's the Tea Party.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Why_Bother

    The old saying goes your only as strong as your weakest link. Then why does the US link themselves and give foreign aid and military support to the weak links of the world who have zero value. Invest in countries that can make us many instead of squander it for dictatorial and military regimes.

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