WASHINGTON – Iraq now ranks as the second-most unstable country in the world, ahead of war-ravaged or poverty-stricken countries such as Somalia, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Congo, Afghanistan, Haiti and North Korea, according to the 2007 Failed States index issued Monday by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace.
Despite billions of dollars in foreign aid, and the presence of more than 150,000 American troops, Iraq has been on a steady decline over the past three years, according to the index. It ranked fourth last year, but its score dropped in almost all of the 12 political, economic, security and social indicators on which the index is based.
“The report tells us that Iraq is sinking fast,” said Fund for Peace President Pauline Baker.
In a parallel series of reports, the Fund for Peace, a research and advocacy group, suggests a policy of managed partition for Iraq.
Largely because of the humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur, Sudan is the world’s most unstable country, the group concluded. More than 200,000 Sudanese have died, and 2 million to 3 million more have been displaced.
“There were only marginal differences between Iraq and Sudan, and Iraq is worse than Somalia, which is already a failed state,” Baker said.
There are two basic driving forces behind Iraq’s escalating problems, Baker said. The first is internal fragmentation, marked by the proliferation of militias and other groups that the United States and Iraqis have been unable to control. The second is interference of external forces in the country.
“Both are filling the vacuum at the center created by a weak government and a failing state,” Baker said.