21 June 2010

Failed States 2010

The Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy Magazine have released their 2010 Failed States Index. This is the sixth year of this extraordinary project and it is well worth a look.

These are the 12 Indicators used in the Index:

Social Indicators
I-1. Mounting Demographic Pressures
  • I-2. Massive Movement of Refugees or Internally Displaced Persons creating Complex Humanitarian Emergencies
  • I-3. Legacy of Vengeance-Seeking Group Grievance or Group Paranoia
  • I-4. Chronic and Sustained Human Flight
Economic Indicators
  • I-5. Uneven Economic Development along Group Lines
  • I-6. Sharp and/or Severe Economic Decline
Political Indicators
  • I-7. Criminalization and/or Delegitimization of the State
  • I-8. Progressive Deterioration of Public Services
  • I-9. Suspension or Arbitrary Application of the Rule of Law and Widespread Violation of Human Rights
  • I-10. Security Apparatus Operates as a "State Within a State"
  • I-11. Rise of Factionalized Elites
  • I-12. Intervention of Other States or External Political Actors
Overall, the Top Ten hasn't shifted much since last year's report. Same crew - just slight movements in position. In fact, the Top Ten list of the most unstable has remained persistently stable since the the project first started. Somalia still leads the list. Chad rises to 2nd place, followed by Sudan, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Just to give you a sense of what it means to top that list, Rawanda comes in at #41 and Kyrgzstan at #45 (just a few notches above Israel, by the way).

Four Countries are on the "Watch List":
Somalia, is #1 with a bullet - - or a bunch of bullets -- now approaching 20 years of civil conflict, it continues to lack any essential infrastructure, to be unable to provide its people with basic services or security, and to be plagued by ubiquitous crime and violence. Piracy, it seems, is the only business that's booming - earning about $89 million is ransom last year alone.

Chad, which comes in at #2 has spillover problems from #3 Sudan, plus it own burden of nearly a quarter million internally displaced persons, and the oppressive anti-rule-of-law leadership of President Idriss D├ęby. Opposition? No problem - just lock 'em up. Or worse. And, by the way, the food and supplies provided for humanitarian relief? He'll be taking those for his military. Unbelievable.

Sudan stays at the unenviable #3 spot. Another hot spot for factional North-South violence, Sudan is potentially facing a major tipping point in the next six months. In January, the South Sudanese are scheduled to vote on whether to secede from Sudan and establish itself as an independent state. If Sudan is such a mess, you might ask why anyone would care. President Omar al-Bashir, a War Crime Hall of Fame Indictee from International Criminal Court, knows that the South is the center of the country's major resource of any value - oil.

The 2010 Failed States Index ranks 177 states according to 12 social, economic, political, and military indicators based on data from more than 90,000 publicly available sources. A listing of the 60 most vulnerable countries is featured in the July/August 2010 issue of FOREIGN POLICY. For a complete ranking of all countries and methodology, please go to www.fundforpeace.org or www.foreignpolicy.com.

Source: The Fund for Peace & Foreign Policy Magazine