Africa's Fragile States: Empowering Extremists, Exporting Terrorism   [open pdf - 450KB]

"Twelve of the twenty states deemed by the Failed States Index (FSI) to be at greatest risk of collapse in 2010 are in Africa. These fragile and failed states account for much of the continent's ongoing conflict, instability, and humanitarian catastrophes. State failure raises the risk of personal insecurity, lawlessness, and armed conflict. Such persistent and randomized insecurity undermines all aspects of ordinary life, forcing people to stay in their homes and close their businesses for fear of violence. Under such circumstances, residents become willing to support or accept virtually any groups that are able to restore order--be they warlords, local gangs, or organized criminal syndicates. Among the violent actors that fill the power vacuums of Africa's fragile and failed states are Islamist extremists. By providing security and basic services, they hope to gain greater public acceptance of their ideological agendas. A state's failure to assert a monopoly on legitimate force accordingly opens the door for extremists to build their bases of political power. Of the twelve 'high-risk' states in Africa, eight have populations that are one-third or more Muslim, a feature that more than doubles a state's risk of instability and provides fertile ground for Islamist extremists."

Report Number:
Africa Security Brief No. 6
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Africa Center for Security Studies: http://africacenter.org/
Media Type:
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