by Patrick Appel
Answering the question of which failed states demand attention might well come down to which are deemed to pose the biggest threat to the world at large. But even the widely presumed linkage between failing states and terrorism is less clear than many have come to assume since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks sounded the alarm about the consequences of governments not in control of their territory. Take Somalia, once again the No. 1 failed state on this year’s index. A recent report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, drawing on captured al Qaeda documents, revealed that Osama bin Laden’s outfit had an awful experience trying to operate out of Somalia, for all the same reasons that international peacekeepers found Somalia unmanageable in the 1990s: terrible infrastructure, excessive violence and criminality, and few basic services, among other factors. In short, Somalia was too failed even for al Qaeda.