A Quick Guide To The Most Failed States In The World

Somalia

Photo: Associated Press

Foreign Policy magazine just released the 2011 Failed States Index, which annually assesses which nations in the world are closest to total implosion.The survey rates countries on a scale of 1-10 (one being very good, 10 being very bad) on a series of 12 indicators. The nation with the highest score earns itself  the title of most failed state in the world.

Here we present you with a condensed version of the report, focusing on the worst countries in the world, specifically on four indicators:

  • Public services
  • Human rights
  • Refugees
  • Deligitmization of the state

Somalia - #1

Public services - 9.4
Human rights - 9.7
Refugees - 10.0
Deligitmization of the state - 9.8

'Somalia's unending woes are the stuff hopelessness is made of,' Foreign Policy reports. The country has been without a functioning government since a 1991 coup. In the last five years alone, it has a faced an Islamist insurgency, an Ethiopian occupation, and a chronic problem with piracy. It has topped the Failed States index for four years in a row.

Sudan - #3

Public services - 9.0
Human rights - 9.7
Refugees - 9.6
Deligitmization of the state - 9.4

Sudan has struggled with decades-long civil war, a genocide in Darfur, and a January 2011 referendum vote set to break the country in half this summer. President Omar Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court to face charges of war crimes.

Haiti - #5

Public services - 10.0
Human rights - 8.0
Refugees - 9.2
Deligitmization of the state - 9.4

Haiti was in notoriously poor shape before it was completely wrecked by 7.0 earthquake in January 2010. This year it's Failed State status continues to rise, from the #11 to #5. Haiti also struggled in the past year with a burgeoning cholera epidemic among refugees, a presidential succession, and diminished attention from the international community.

Zimbabwe - #6

Public services - 9.0
Human rights - 9.2
Refugees - 8.2
Deligitmization of the state - 9.3

With 95% unemployment and absolutely worthless currency, Zimbabwe continues to suffer under the yoke of former independence fighter, Robert Mugabe, who entered into a governing agreement with the current prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, only after arresting, torturing, and suppressing Tsvangirai's supporters during the 2008 presidential elections. With another election expected for later this year, look for Zimbabwe to blow up even further.

Afghanistan - #7

Public services - 8.5
Human rights - 8.8
Refugees - 9.3
Deligitmization of the state - 9.7

With President Obama announcing tomorrow his assessment of America's nation-building project in Afghanistan, he might be interested to know that Afghans have absolutely no faith in the legitimacy of that government. Afghanistan plays host not only to an occupying army and a Taliban insurgency, but also to 90% of world's opium supply. The country has so many problems nobody really knows where to begin.

Iraq - #9

Public services - 8.0
Human rights - 8.6
Refugees - 9.0
Deligitmization of the state - 8.7

Iraq continues to slip from the news as it slips down the Failed States index, dropping at least one slot every year since 2008. As American troops continue their withdrawal from the country, they will continue to face threats from stray militias. Iraq itself, meanwhile, will continue its struggle to unite the country after years of insurgency and civil war.

Pakistan - #12

Public services - 7.3
Human rights - 8.7
Refugees - 9.2
Deligitmization of the state - 8.6

Pakistan is #12 on the index it's the #1 concern to Western officials because it has nuclear weapons. The Pakistani government faces American pressure to beef up its fight against terrorists in its northwest frontier and faces domestic pressure not to cave to the hated Americans. Following the bin Laden raid, Pakistan has to prove its government hasn't been irremediably compromised by Islamist elements in the security services. Meanwhile, natural disasters like earthquakes and floods have created nearly 2 million refugees, the largest refugee population in the world.

Yemen - #13

Public services - 8.7
Human rights - 7.7
Refugees - 8.4
Deligitmization of the state - 8.6

Yemen has jumped several spots up the Failed States index each year since 2008, reflecting increasing international concern about separatist tensions between the north and the south and about a growing Al Qaeda affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, often considered the most dangerous terrorist organisation in the world. Recent months have seen street protests across the country, leading President Ali Abdullah Saleh to flee to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. He is not expected to return, leaving the U.S. without a well-established partner with whom to fight Al Qaeda.

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