Identifying and exploring the fragility of states creates the opportunity to address how they might be able to combat pressures in the future. Learning what pressures states have been able (or unable) to reduce in the past year gives insight into the capacities that exist (or do not) within each state and their governments. The top ten are profiled to give context to why they fall on this end of the Index and how they have changed since the previous year. Only two countries within the top ten saw a worsening in their individual scores, South Sudan and Central African Republic. Seven showed improvement and one experienced little change.
Though it is called the Failed States Index, that is not to say that every country on the FSI is a failed state — after all, Finland is ranked on the FSI. That is also not to say that any country on the FSI is necessarily failed — though Somalia might be the closest approximation to what many people may consider to be a failed state. Rather, the Failed States Index measures the pressures experienced by countries and thus adjudges their susceptibility to state failure. Ranking top on the FSI does not in and of itself mean that a country is failed — it simply means that of all countries, that one country is the most at risk of failure.
As the situation in Somalia continued to deteriorate in 2011, the country remains at the top of the Failed States Index for the fifth year in succession. Ten out of twelve of Somalia’s indicators scores were above 9.0 on a scale of 10. Indeed, the Refugees and IDPs as well as the Security Apparatus indicator scores remain at the highest possible level of 10.0. The absence of a permanent national government for twenty years was aggravated in 2011 by an upsurge of violence, massive human rights abuses and natural disasters. Worsened social conditions have added to political instability which led to mass displacement and impoverishment. Somalia also continues to be a relentless headache for international shipping, with the unrelenting activities of Somali pirates deep into the Indian Ocean. Despite attempts by external actors such as the African Union and neighboring Kenya to intervene in the conflict, terrorist activity by al-Shabaab and general unabating lawlessness has hampered such efforts.
Published October 14, 2011 | By Kendall Lawrence
The Haqqani Network is an insurgent group that operates from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) region of Pakistan. The group has been active mainly in the southeast of Afghanistan—in Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Ghazni Wardak and, occasionally, Kabul provinces. For the past two years, the group has focused on gaining support and control of Kurram Agency, a province of Pakistan not far from Kabul, which is mostly beyond the scope of U.S. drone activity. It is led by Siraj Haqqani, the son of the network’s founder, the famous anti-Soviet fighter and former CIA asset, Jalaluddin Haqqani. The Network falls under the larger umbrella of the Taliban, although they maintain their own command and control structures.
Published October 14, 2011 | By Ryan Costello
Revelations from the 2004 exposure of the A. Q. Khan network have highlighted the importance of this region in global nonproliferation efforts. While terrorism is by no means constrained to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, the confluence of intent, knowledge and materials is found in this region. It remains uncertain if all nodes of the Khan network have been identified. Other leading Pakistani scientists have demonstrated a willingness to share nuclear knowledge if not material capabilities.
Published August 4, 2011 | By Mustafa Babak
The recent move by the Obama Administration to suspend unilateral sanctions on Burma (Myanmar) led to a flurry of opinions. Many who oppose the move highlighted the specific request of Burmese Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for Western governments to not remove sanctions that prevented their companies from working with the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). At the center of this argument is the notion that Western governments and private enterprise should hold back from diving in to the Burmese extractive sector until the country has adopted internationally accepted measures of transparency and accountability.
On this year’s Failed States Index, Somalia scored as the worst offender for Refugees and IDPs, Economic Decline, Human rights and Security Apparatus. The absence of a permanent national government for almost twenty years has led to ongoing civil violence, economic hardship, poor social conditions, and the displacement of several million Somali citizens. It has become increasingly difficult for international agencies to provide aid to Somalia in light of the recent troubles with piracy and hostility towards foreigners. An upsurge of civil violence in the southern part of the nation has created further destabilization and threatens any potential improvements to Somalia’s condition.