Postcards from Hell


For the last half-decade, the Fund for Peace, working with Foreign Policy, has been putting together the Failed States Index, using a battery of indicators to determine how stable — or unstable — a country is. But according to The Economist, as the photos here demonstrate, sometimes the best test is the simplest one: You’ll only know a failed state when you see it. Read full photo coverage at The  Foreign Policy HERE. I only apload three photos (copyright: The Foreign Policy) from the countries that top the list of the most failed ones.

1. Somalia has topped the Failed States Index for the last three years — a testament not only to the depth of the country’s long-running political and humanitarian disaster, but also, as James Traub writes (“In the Beginning, There Was Somalia”), to the international community’s inability to find an answer.

2. Chad‘s troubles are often written off as spillover from the conflict taking place in next-door Darfur, Sudan. But this central African country has plenty of problems of its own. An indigenous conflict has displaced approximately 200,000, and life under the paranoid rule of Chadian President Idriss Déby is increasingly miserable. Déby has arrested opposition figures and redirected humanitarian funding to the military in recent years. Matters might soon get worse as the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the country’s east, where the bulk of the refugees reside, begins to depart on July 15.

3. The next year will prove a decisive one for Sudan, perhaps more so than any other since the country’s independence in 1956. In January 2011, the people of South Sudan will vote in a referendum on whether they would prefer to remain an autonomous region — or secede as an independent state. All analysts predict it will be the latter, but they are equally certain that it won’t be so easy. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is likely to cling close to his control of the South, where much of the country’s oil riches lie. This is to say nothing of Darfur, where peacekeepers recently reported an uptick in violence with hundreds killed.

Four actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in May 2010, according to the new issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch, released on June first. Main Trends:

Deteriorated Situations
India (non-Kashmir), Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, North Korea, Thailand.

Improved Situations

Unchanged Situations
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Armenia/Turkey, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chechnya (Russia), Colombia, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, DR Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Morocco, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus (non-Chechnya), Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Serbia, Somalia, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan Strait, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

However, one more conflict deteriorated a week ago in Darfur. ICG will report about it in its coming report. According to the Reuters, there was a spike in violence in Sudan’s western Darfur region, which a U.N. envoy said was seriously hindering protection and aid for civilians. The envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, told the council 447 people had died in May alone — a lower figure than given last week by U.N. officials, but still what he called a “serious escalation” in fighting between Sudan’s government and Darfur rebels. Gambari, head of the U.N./African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, or UNAMID, said military clashes were likely to “continue for some time unless urgent efforts at ensuring a ceasefire are made by the international community.”

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when mostly non-Arab rebel factions took up arms against Sudan’s government, accusing it of neglecting the region’s development. Khartoum mobilized mostly Arab militias to crush the uprising. Violence has increased since one of the main rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), announced in early May it was freezing its participation in peace talks.

What I like most about it, are these “deeply disturbed” and “gravely concerned” statements from the international community. Same like in Darfur’s case a week ago: “The council president Claude Heller of Mexico told reporters (concerning Darfur) there is not an initiative of any delegation to present a concrete action for the time being.”

Sadly, replying to the postcards from hell, we always send postcards back with the note “ahh, we are gravely concerened…”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s