Somalia

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Insurgency Defectors: Dangers and Deradicalization Processes

Published January 27, 2016 | By Sarah Silverman

The continuous contemporary news cycle alerts us daily to the mass violence and destruction carried out by radical and extreme violent insurgent groups, and the far reaching flow on effects. Groups such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) in the Middle East, Boko Haram in West Africa, and al-Shabab in East Africa, and al-Qaeda in both continents, have resounding impacts, both regionally and internationally. The violence perpetrated by these groups is spilling across borders in Africa and the Middle East, causing a migration crisis not seen in scale since the end of World War Two. With the world’s attention focused on border controls and refugee quotas, what has gleaned less focus is the response to returning defectors and the deradicalization process.

The World’s Ten Most Fragile States in 2014

Published June 24, 2013 | By J. J. Messner & Kendall Lawrence

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.

Terror Strikes Nairobi Again

Published September 23, 2013 | By Patricia Taft
 
The tragedy of the rampage at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya hit close to home for many of us at the Fund for Peace. Like countless others working the fields of international development, defense and business in Africa, most of us have had the occasion to spend time in Nairobi over the years. Nairobi has long served as a hub in East Africa and Kenya has been one of the continental leaders in Africa on everything from providing peacekeepers to the world’s most dangerous places to combating terrorism at home and further afield. It is in these last efforts, Kenya’s participation in the war on terrorism, which may have brought the tragedy home to Nairobi this weekend. It is also yet another example that underscores the dangers to innocent civilians emanating from neighboring weak and failed states and the half-measures employed to deal with them.

Failed States Index 2013: The Troubled Ten

Published June 24, 2013 | By J. J. Messner & Kendall Lawrence

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.

The Recovery of Somalia: Check Back With Us Again Next Year

Published June 24, 2013 | By Felipe Umaña

Somalia has been what many would describe as the quintessential “failed state” since the inception of the Failed States Index (FSI). Struggling with an occasionally unforgiving semi-arid topography in much of the North, widespread poverty as a result of tight competition for few resources, and mired by high levels of insecurity, an inchoate political system, and a disjointed sovereignty, Somalia has performed poorly in virtually every indicator measured on this and other global indices.

Failed States Index 2012: The Troubled Ten (Plus One)

Published June 20, 2012 | By T. Anderson, R. Jaeger, F. Umaña, N. Manning, A. Whitehead.

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.

Al Shabaab and the Food Crisis

Published September 1, 2011 | By Annie Janus and Kendall Lawrence

Al Shabaab, a hard-line militia group, controls most of southern Somalia and, until recently, a large swath of Mogadishu. Though the exact origins of al-Shabaab are unknown, most scholars believe that the group started as a military faction of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which took over Mogadishu and large parts of the south after intense factionalized fighting in 2006. Al-Shabaab has waged an insurgency against Somalia''s transitional federal government (TFG) and its Ethiopian supporters over the past five years. The full name of the group is Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM) meaning ‘Movement of Striving Youth.’ The fighters are a mix of local and foreign youth, attracted to the group by its claims to be the defenders of Somali dignity from outside invaders while it also calls for a broader global jihad.

The Food Crisis: Origins & Threats

Published August 19, 2011 | By Annie Janus

The world is facing its second food crisis in three years. In 2008, soaring food prices led to widespread famine, political instability, and violent riots from Bangladesh to Egypt. Recently, food prices have resurged, placing pressure on many countries as they reached record highs earlier this year. The sharp increase in food prices presents many far-reaching threats. In addition to humanitarian concerns, hunger is an instant source of instability. Due to the intense pressure spiked food prices have placed on many countries, food riots have recently erupted Algeria, Jordan, and Tunisia. Unless the situation improves, the international community is at risk of the widespread protests, land grabbing, and political upheavals that plagued the 2007-08 food crisis.

Somalia Tops the Failed States Index for the Fourth Year Running

Published June 18, 2011 | By J. J. Messner

If the Failed States Index were a championship, then Somalia would be the undisputed four-time champion (or cellar-dweller, depending on how you look at it). In the seven years of the Failed States Index, Somalia has had the ignominious distinction of occupying the worst spot for the past four years straight. Despite having a relatively functional and pretty much autonomous ‘state’ in the north, Somaliland, the country as a whole still manages to score badly enough to make up for that glimmer of unrecognized hope. Worse still, the country is in no danger of losing its position anytime soon. A combination of widespread lawlessness, ineffective government, terrorism, insurgency, crime, abysmal development and a penchant for inconveniencing the rest of the world by taking their merchant vessels hostage has given Somalia a score that – much as they seem to try – neither Chad, Sudan, Zimbabwe nor the Democratic Republic of Congo can hope to match.

Failed States Index 2011: The Troubled Ten

Published June 18, 2011 | By Kristen Blandford, Annie Janus, Kendall Lawrence.

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.