Fragile States Index 2014: The Book

Published June 24, 2014 | By J.J. Messner, Nate Haken, et al.

The Fragile States Index, produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure. By highlighting pertinent issues in weak and failing states, The Fragile States Index—and the social science framework and software application upon which it is built—makes political risk assessment and early warning of conflict accessible to policy-makers and the public at large.

Most Improved Country for 2014: Iran

Published June 24, 2014 | By Felipe Umaña

Iran, despite its hefty domestic and international political issues and obdurate theocratic government, has taken several gradual but important steps to improve its standing on the world stage over the past year. These improvements, which occurred in all but one of the twelve indicators analyzed, have made it the 2014 Fragile States Index’s most improved country.

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 2013: The Book

Published June 24, 2013 | By J.J. Messner, Nate Haken, et al.

The Failed States Index, produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure. By highlighting pertinent issues in weak and failing states, The Failed States Index—and the social science framework and software application upon which it is built—makes political risk assessment and early warning of conflict accessible to policy-makers and the public at large.

Threats in the Straits of Malacca

Published August 23, 2012 | By Felipe Umaña

The Straits of Malacca consist of a narrow but lengthy waterway that extends more than 500 miles from the eastern limits of the Andaman Sea to the South China Sea in Southeast Asia. Straddling the sea route between the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the Thai-Malay Peninsula, and the small city-state of Singapore, the Straits of Malacca are known globally for their economic, political, environmental, and strategic importance. The Straits themselves link the Indian Ocean to some of Asia’s most powerful economies, as well as many other trade-influential countries, like the United States, Germany, and Russia.

Revisiting the Crime-Terrorism Nexus in the Tri-Border Area

Published April 11, 2012 | By Felipe Umaña

Along with its increasing economic and environmental value, the Tri-border region has also risen in relevance after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as an area attractive to global terrorist organizations. The region is largely ungoverned due to weak, inadequate, or ignored laws. A myriad of shadowy black markets, pirated CDs, stolen cars, falsified documentation, and trafficked humans – among other commoditized “goods” – all pass through this region either completely undetected or with tacit acceptance from the local governments. Money laundering and tax evasion also form part of the colorful gamut of illegality that runs rampant in what a reporter has termed as “a terrorist’s paradise.” High rates of violence and petty crime also plague the region, and exist in tandem with poor money laundering controls and low government preparedness. All of these activities occur under the purview of corrupt officials, whose expanse throughout the governmental establishment lends continued permanence to the activities in the region.

Is Libya Dissolving?

Published March 30, 2012 | By Felipe Umaña

The Congress for the People of Cyrenaica, which was held in eastern Libya’s largest city, Benghazi, attracted international attention after the group demanded greater autonomy from the central government in Tripoli and a reversion to the federal Libya that existed in the 1950s. Cyrenaica — or Barqa, as it is referred to locally — stretches from the littoral town of Sirte (known famously as the birthplace of Muammar Gaddafi) to the eastern border with Egypt. The globally recognized representative of the Libyan people, the Tripoli-headquartered National Transitional Council (NTC), immediately rejected demands for greater self-government. Believing that more self-government may lead to the division of the Libyan state, the leader of the NTC, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, promised to defend the unity of Libya by force, if necessary.