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. Kim-jong-un

    This was written by anti-North Korea. We are the least corrupt, happiest, and stablest country on earth!

    June 19, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tim Bates

    If you go back 50 years and made a list of disfunctional countries , it would look a lot like today's list. African countries and governments have made almost no progress for their people. Haiti is a lost cause. On the other hand, Asian countries in turmoil have done a lot of amazing things. Much of it depends on work ethic and inner strength.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • noldinho

      No sir Haiti is not a lost cause ....we will prevail

      June 19, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Prevail against what, your selves? Haiti is an arm pit thankd to the people that live there.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Been There?

      Work ethic? Majority of stable countries were founded on slave labor. Either from their own people or by ones bought in for such work. strong work ethic of slaves! See if your inner strength can stop a round from an AK-47.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anon E Moose

    But where is our beloved Noam Chomsky ? he would be putting this list right by adding the most Satanic country in the world (i.e. United States of America)

    June 19, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Realdirect

    All the African nations were robbed! of diamonds & other metals.Then turn the people against each other to create civil war. The U.S. gets all they'er heroin,from they're connections in Afghanistan to be sold in the U.S.They want Haiti to become a country club for the rich,then turn the indigenous into waiters & dishwashers. The U.S. are Ethnic Secessionist. This is what they did to Iraq & tried to do with Saudi Arabia,to monopolize they'er oil, but failed.The U.S. pulls these acts in many weaker nations. They are the heads of criminality......

    June 19, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • cnnmembuh

      "They're oil"? Really?

      June 19, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      The countries you list have only themselves to blame. They look much now as they did before the U.S. was even created. Unless you 3rd world-ers stop blaming everyone else and start talking responsibility…you will always be 3rd world-ers. You’re children will be lucky to be waiters and dishwashers.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tom Cechner

    Things were a lot better when the colonial powers ran things

    June 19, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. rocket

    Most of the failed countries on the list are currently being interfered with or bombed by the countries that are supposedly not failed or, are supplying weapons to feuding sides to fuel wars in the failed countries. If you don't believe me look into it. Others have suffered economic wars at the hands of the non failed states for years. Once again if you don't believe me look into it. Show some respect and learn what is going on.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      There is no reason to respect a failure. Even if what you say is true (which isn’t not, I looked as you suggested) you are still making excuses.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Susspua

    And how is progress measured? And does a failed state receive such a designation because it has already been blacklisted because it is an African state? Read the headlines about Syria, and Egypt, and Greece! Stereotypes of failure usually come in shades of black...

    June 19, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      You raise a good point. I cannot find a single successful ‘black’ country. Perhaps my standards are too high. Be a dear and list a few. Feel free to include all of recorded history. It’s not their skin color that is the cause. It’s their culture as you yourself showed by listing no black countries.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sara

    More than half are majority Muslim or significant Muslim populations. What a shock!

    June 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • MAM

      You are absolutely right. And also for a race.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. uche

    where is nigeria in the list.Nigeria should be ranked in the first three

    June 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chad

    I think Detroit came in at a distant 11.

    June 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Farrakhan Shegog

    How can the editors of this article post a discussing article such as this one. You have many countries in this world that have been aided to fail. By who? United States government. Those countries that are listed here all contain interest of the U.S such has minerals,OIL, cheap labor. THE U.S is the destabilizer in these countries. It excite violence. Its called DIVIDE and CONQUER.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • asdfjkl

      most of these countries were screwed before the us became involved, ie somalia, afghanistan, iraq, and some of these have no us interference at all, ie zimbabwe, chad.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MAM

    They will strongly try to get Israel to 177.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. Eleena

    Pakistan is still a top failed state.they are at 13th.But truly they are number one failed state.We can't compare Pakistan to even african countries.Government does not have any control to its people.Everyday american drones attacking them.Taliban is controlling 90% pakistan rest is by America.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. jackinthebox

    Has anyone actually read the whole list? There are several failed states on most continents sans north America and Oceania. Some of the comments here are absurd and have no basis in reality . Burma, Cambodia, Bolivia, New guinea, Georgia, russia, China, Romania, well pretty much any eastern bloc county is critical or borderline.To all the trolls there arefailed states everywhere, some of them with a ..gasp..white majority!

    June 20, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. Somali

    Thanks fo all the comment guys, i assure you i wasnt easy toping the list 5 years running.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • asdfjkl

      you forgot the "a"

      June 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
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