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Index of State Weakness in the Developing

World
Transnational Security Threats, Foreign Aid, Developing Countries, Global Poverty, National Security
Susan E. Rice, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Global Economy and Development
Stewart Patrick, Research Fellow, Center for Global Development
The Brookings Institution

2008 —
INTRODUCTION

Since September 11, 2001, the United States and other


governments have frequently asserted that threats to international
peace and security often come from the world’s weakest states.
Such countries can fall prey to and spawn a host of transnational
security threats, including terrorism, weapons proliferation,
organized crime, infectious disease, environmental degradation,
and civil conflicts that spill over borders. Accordingly, the 2002 World Map of Weak States. View Larger.
National Security Strategy of the United States maintains that weak and failing states “pose as great a danger to our
national interest as strong states.”

The Index of State Weakness in the Developing World was designed to provide policy-makers and researchers with a
credible tool for analyzing and understanding the world's most vulnerable countries. Co-directed by Brookings Senior
Fellow Susan Rice and Center for Global Development Research Fellow Stewart Patrick, the Index ranks and
assesses 141 developing nations according to their relative performance in four critical spheres: economic, political,
security and social welfare.

Weak and Failed States: What They Are, Why They Matter and What to
Do About Them

Since September 11, 2001, threats to international peace and security have frequently come
from the world’s weakest states. The U.S. National Security Strategy describes weak and failed
states as significant challenges and a high policy priority, a view widely shared by policy-makers
in other nations, global development agencies, the U.S. military, the United Nations and the
European Union.

On February 26, 2008 the Brookings Institution released the Index of State Weakness in the
Developing World, an effort designed to provide policy-makers and researchers with a credible
tool for analyzing and understanding the world's most vulnerable countries. Co-directed by
Brookings Senior Fellow Susan Rice and Center for Global Development Research Fellow
Stewart Patrick, the Index ranks and assesses 141 developing nations according to their
relative performance in four critical spheres: economic, political, security and social welfare.

To mark the launch, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who chairs the House Armed
Services Committee’s Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee,
delivered remarks on the twin challenges of global poverty and state weakness, and their
implications for U.S. and global security. Brookings Vice President and Director of Global
Economy and Development Lael Brainard provided introductory remarks and Brookings Vice
President and Director of Foreign Policy Carlos Pascual, who served as coordinator for
reconstruction and stabilization at the State Department, moderated the discussion.

___

The 10 states that fill out the top ranks of this year's Failed States Index -- the world's
most vulnerable nations -- are a sadly familiar bunch. Shattered Somalia has been the
No. 1 failed state for three years running, and none of the current top 10 has shown
much improvement, if any, since FOREIGN POLICY and the Fund for Peace began
publishing the index in 2005. Altogether, the top 10 slots have rotated among just 15
unhappy countries in the index's six years. State failure, it seems, is a chronic
condition.

This year's index draws on 90,000 publicly available sources to analyze 177 countries and rate them
on 12 metrics of state decay -- from refugee flows to economic implosion, human rights violations to
security threats. Taken together, a country's performance on this battery of indicators tells us how
stable -- or unstable -- it is. And unfortunately for many of the 60 most troubled, the news from 2009
is grave.

At the top of the list, Somalia saw yet another year plagued by lawlessness and chaos, with pirates
plying the coast while radical Islamist militias tightened their grip on the streets of Mogadishu.
Across the Gulf of Aden, long-ignored Yemen leapt into the news when a would-be suicide bomber
who had trained there tried to blow up a commercial flight bound for Detroit. Afghanistan and Iraq
traded places on the index as both states contemplated the exit of U.S. combat troops, while already
isolated Sudan saw its dictator, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, defy an arrest warrant from the
International Criminal Court and the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of the Congo once again
proved itself a country in little more than name.

Even good news for these plagued states came tempered by hard facts. A coalition government in
Zimbabwe whipped history's second-worst bout of hyperinflation, fostering the country's first year of
positive growth in more than a decade, and Sri Lanka crushed its Tamil Tiger insurgency. But Robert
Mugabe's security goons still rule Harare unchecked, while the Sri Lankan government stands
accused of committing gross human rights violations.
This year's index draws on 90,000 publicly available sources to analyze 177 countries and rate them
on 12 metrics of state decay -- from refugee flows to economic implosion, human rights violations to
security threats. Taken together, a country's performance on this battery of indicators tells us how
stable -- or unstable -- it is. And unfortunately for many of the 60 most troubled, the news from 2009
is grave.

Foreign Policy: Reports Ranking Dictators, Failed States Released

June 23rd, 2010 by Jennifer

George B.N. Ayittey writing in Foreign Policy has come out with a list of the world’s worst
dictators, numbered according to the egregiousness of their actions in the realms of “perfidy,
cultural betrayal, and economic devastation.” Several leaders in the BMENA are included in the
list of 23 dictators, with Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan ranked number 4; Iran’s Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad coming in at 8; Libya’s Muammar al-Qaddafi, 11; Syria’s Bashar al-Assad,
12; and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, 15.

Ayittey notes the role of al-Bashir’s Arab janjaweed militias in the mass slaughter in Darfur;
Ahmadinejad’s violent repression of reformist protesters within Iran; Qaddafi’s opposition to
democracy; and al-Assad’s use of an extensive security apparatus to keep the public silent.
Calling Mubarak a “senile and paranoid autocrat whose sole preoccupation is self-perpetuation in
office,” Ayittey criticizes Egypt’s renewal of the 30-year-old emergency law and its crackdown
on opposition forces, stating, “No wonder only 23 percent of Egyptians bothered to vote in the
2005 presidential election.” Ayittey argues that the brutal repression practiced by such autocratic
regimes is exacerbated by the lack of sufficient attention paid to democracy issues by the
international community, stating that “the world is in denial.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Policy and The Fund for Peace released their 2010 Failed States Index,
which measures the failure rate of nations worldwide according to 12 indicators: demographic
pressures, refugees, illegitimate governments, brain drain, public services, inequality, group
grievances, human rights, economic decline, security forces, factionalized elites, and external
intervention. From the BMENA, ranked highest overall among failed states were Sudan (3rd
worldwide), Afghanistan (6th), Iraq (7th), Pakistan (10th), and Yemen (15th).

Some local media outlets picked up the report, with Lebanon’s Daily Star observing that the
country’s position on the FSI list has improved from last year, while Al-Jazeera indicated that
the Middle East holds just over 10% of the world’s top 60 weakest states.
At the top of the list, Somalia saw yet another year plagued by lawlessness and chaos, with pirates
plying the coast while radical Islamist militias tightened their grip on the streets of Mogadishu.
Across the Gulf of Aden, long-ignored Yemen leapt into the news when a would-be suicide bomber
who had trained there tried to blow up a commercial flight bound for Detroit. Afghanistan and Iraq
traded places on the index as both states contemplated the exit of U.S. combat troops, while already
isolated Sudan saw its dictator, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, defy an arrest warrant from the
International Criminal Court and the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of the Congo once again
proved itself a country in little more than name.

Even good news for these plagued states came tempered by hard facts. A coalition government in
Zimbabwe whipped history's second-worst bout of hyperinflation, fostering the country's first year of
positive growth in more than a decade, and Sri Lanka crushed its Tamil Tiger insurgency. But Robert
Mugabe's security goons still rule Harare unchecked, while the Sri Lankan government stands
accused of committing gross human rights violations.