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. Wichita Massacre

    Are there any black nations who are "stable"?

    Well I guess Cameroon is not on the top ten, so congrats to them.

    June 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      Botswana and Namibia have done well. In Botswana, education is free through Ph.D. They've handled their diamond natural resources well and used some of those monies on the populace.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. rikers

    Six African nations? Not surprising since those parts of the world are in constant turmoil.

    June 19, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • dentate

      I'd call it 7, since Haiti is for all intents and purposes an African country too.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      "Somalia tops the 2012 Failed States Index because of “widespread lawlessness, ineffective government, terrorism, insurgency, crime, and well-publicized pirate attacks against foreign vessels,”

      Sounds like Detroit.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. macarter

    11 IRAN

    June 19, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • shahin2102

      34 IRAN

      June 19, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Abu Ashok Bin Gupta

    "Experimental Democracy" has failed in India. An experiment that was being shoved down India's throat by western countries too eager to propagate their own values on a country that was trying to decolonize itself while trying to shed the communist skin of being a Soviet ally. India was thus trapped. What has become evident now is that this "Experimental Democracy" has marginalized the country. The marginalized groups of the country – Dalits and ‘backward’ castes/classes, indigenous ‘tribal’ people and religious minorities have been disenfranchised. "The belief that corruption is the important issue in the country is shared only by the minority living in urban areas and towns who have been beneficiaries of economic liberalization policies mandated by western countries. The most important challenges of Indian society remain as follows: justice, social and economic equality and equal access to certain standards of life for all Indians. “While India seems too eager to please its western masters and put on a progressive and softer face for CNN for public consumption, people see through it. The consequences of this "Band – Aid" approach will be brutal for India geo-politically when it realizes that the GDP statistics that it has been relying to gage its progress has not amounted to much in the long run.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      And look how stable India is now, parents cutting off the heads of their daughters. Real stable society you have there.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. Trace

    North Korea?

    June 19, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • TriXen

      I don't think North Korea would qualify. Although they certainly have failed at the level of human rights and contribution to the rest of the world, their government remains stable and in control, unlike many of these other countries where the government is essentially powerless compared to the gangs of thugs who really run the country.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. Shay

    Why am i not suprised that Europe and US are green. Even though the cause of most of the world financial problems to date all stem from those areas. I am sure many of those people in red and orange live a more satisfiying and happier life because they treasure the little things than the greed filled, two face hypocrisy and depression drug taking people of the Western world that dont take time to appreciate anything in this life cause all they chase is money

    June 19, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Elliot

      Yep, I'm sure people living in those countries are WAY

      June 19, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Elliot

    Looking at that map from the link in the article you can pretty much equate that green = countries ran by caucasians, with the exception of Russia. Why is that?

    June 19, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • rocket

      Eastern Europe is also ran by Caucasians. And The Middle East are sometimes considered Caucasian. Now, this whole thing is mainly propaganda and it misses one big point. The fact that in almost all those failed states those from the green countries are either bombing them , directly interfering in their affairs, or stealing all their resources.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. Yuri

    Pakistan can be a strong contender as well.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. jorge washinsen

    You left the US out of the count.Should be top eleven unstable nations or have you strolled on the streets of Washington DC lately at night or day?

    June 19, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      Especially unstable with the current democratic administration.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mary

    How are Syria and Egypt not on this list?

    June 19, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • jorge washinsen

      Syria and Egypt is not on the list because they were sponsored in a futil war that has gained nothing for all the effort liberal news agencies have invested.Might as well ad Libya and Somalia and Yemen.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. jorge washinsen

    How many nations are there that do not protect their borders, make no difference,how backward or dangerous the country is? Only one I know of.The good old USA.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. jorge washinsen

    Which nation right now is poking their nose in their citizen'[s business every day?Good old USA

    June 19, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. dutspup

    Mexico is fine.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. Slappy_McGiggles

    All Black and Middle Eastern countries, oh there's a surprise!!!

    June 19, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. jorge washinsen

    We have tried to force our way of life o half of the places listed.Leave them alone to their self imposed misery.We owe these people nothing.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
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