Four years after the invasion, five months after the surge began and one day into a new anti-al-Qaeda offensive
in Diyala Province, and Iraq is "at risk" of becoming a failed state, according to an index compiled by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund For Peace.
A ranking list
of what the two organizations specify as the criteria for failed statehood -- factionalized elites, refugees and displaced persons, the delegitimation of the state, external intervention and eight others -- place Iraq as the second-most state at risk of failure. That's ahead of such failed-state perennials as Somalia, the Ivory Coast, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The only state considered worse off than Iraq is Sudan, where the Khartoum government is pursuing a genocide in Darfur. Perhaps as ominous: Afghanistan is number eight on the failed-state index.
How could this be, given the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars in both countries since 9/11? Writes Foreign Policy:
(Not) all failing states suffer from international neglect. Iraq and Afghanistan, the two main fronts in the global war on terror, both suffered over the past year. Their experiences show that billions of dollars in development and security aid may be futile unless accompanied by a functioning government, trustworthy leaders, and realistic plans to keep the peace and develop the economy. Just as there are many paths to success, there are many paths to failure for states on the edge.