Worse than Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Yemen, and Afghanistan, Somalia is the most failed state in the world, according to the annual ranking by Foreign Policy and The Global Fund For Peace.
Located in the Horn of Africa, the majority Sunni Muslim country suffers from an ineffective government, famine, disease, piracy, militant extremism, and frequent external intervention.
No wonder it has topped the list of the most failed states every year since 2008.
We have to start with the famine. The UN reports that famine in Somalia, which officially lasted from 2010-2012, killed 260,000 people.
Back then, rampant tribalism and infighting led to extreme food shortages, food hoarding by armed factions, and eventually civil war.
The turmoil spurned U.S. and international intervention, culminating in the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, when two Blackhawk helicopters were shot down and 18 U.S troops were killed.
Somalia's key export commodities are livestock, bananas, animal hides, fish, charcoal, and scrap metal.
Here, the president of Somalia's Olympic committee lies fatally injured after a suicide bombing last year.
But violence is rampant, with tribal factions, military elements from Somalia and abroad, and Islamic extremists constantly doing battle.
Somalia is well known as the home country of the pirates who terrorize the key trade waters near the Horn of Africa.
The international community has devoted resources in the region to combat piracy, like these South Koran commandos raiding this ship.
Yet in spite of the hardships and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Gallup recently found that 94% of people in the region are optimistic about the future. There's nowhere to go but up.
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