Hunger and political instability go hand in hand. Fighting and droughts across Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen, and parts of Nigeria have caused dire situations and have driven up food prices, placing over 20 million people under increased risk of food insecurity. Terrorist groups and criminals prey on such situations, exacerbating ...

This century will be defined by two trends: how we manage climate change and how we manage the rise of megacities. Over the next 20 years, the global urban population will grow from 3.5 to 5 billion people. The strain on resources and the environmental stresses that accompany the growth ...

The United States is confronted with security challenges on a daily basis, from unending terrorist attacks to adversaries positioning themselves on the geopolitical and global economic stages. But behind the curtain of all of these problems resides a potentially devastating, long-term issue that demands attention: global food insecurity as both ...

With the advent of digital communications, people thousands of miles apart can engage with each other seamlessly, and businesses can operate at a scale previously unknown, thanks to a burgeoning consumer electronics industry. But not all aspects of this industry are positive. Some contribute to global insecurity and human suffering. ...

The U.S. withdrawal from the COP21 Paris Agreement has given new life to the debate around the consequences of climate change. The Trump Administration has cited concerns over national sovereignty and the economic burdens of reducing emissions to justify its policy. While this rationale remains controversial, it surely represents a ...

BANGUI, Central African Republic – Since May 8, fighting in the southeastern city of Bangassou, the southern town of Alindao and the central mining town of Bria has left more than 300 people dead, 200 injured and 70,000 displaced, according to the U.N. The spreading violence “is highly worrying and ...

After the stunning collapse of the Iranian regime in 1979, country risk analysts everywhere became desirous of some method to better calculate the risk of political instability in countries across the world. For many, the holy grail became some type of quantitative index that would rank countries based on their ...

UN peacekeeping is rarely headline news, but when the Trump Administration announced in March that it was seeking to make cuts of $1 billion in funding for UN peacekeeping, the announcement attracted wide attention. The United States has agreed to contribute $2.2 billion toward the cost of UN peacekeeping activities ...

The Fragile States Index is a remarkable and welcome document in this era of instant national security analysis, delivered in 24/7 soundbites. With the Index, you actually have real data – data that has been carefully gathered for a broad cross section of the world, and that you can access ...

When it comes to the world’s most fragile states, two of the wealthiest and most-developed countries, the United States and the United Kingdom, would not normally top the list. But by certain key metrics, they do: both significantly worsened in the category of “group grievance” – the indicator that measures feelings ...

What is the most stable country in the world? Which is the most fragile? What determines those qualities? In 2017, South Sudan was ranked the most fragile country by The Fund for Peace, an organization that publishes the Fragile States Index (FSI) every year. Finland was judged the most stable. Measured on ...

From the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union in 2015, to the protectionist rhetoric of U.S. President Donald Trump, the concepts of multilateralism and liberal internationalism appear increasingly under threat. The United Nations is perhaps the most visible symbol of these values, and despite its successes, its failures ...

The United Nations is at an important point in history, where growing skepticism of multilateral institutions and the current liberal international order led by the United States threatens to derail organizations like the UN. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with James Cockayne, the head of the New York office ...

Since the first CIA Predator drone strike in October 2001, the United States, among others, has sought to expand the technology to facilitate remote warfare. UN peacekeeping forces use drones for intelligence gathering in such places as Mali, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ...

The fighting in Syria – and ever-rising death toll of civilians caught in the middle – is so horrifying that many seemingly have chosen to look away. Though hundreds of thousands are killed and millions more are forced to flee, headlines from one of the worst humanitarian atrocities on record ...

There has been a downward trend in large-scale warfare on the African continent since the number of wars peaked in the mid 1990s. However, new forms of violence are now replacing mass warfare in many of America’s key African allies. “In a lot of African countries [you find] situations that ...

Why has Russia under President Vladimir Putin remained fairly stable despite worsening economic conditions? Is Zimbabwe likely to become embroiled in conflict when its 92-year old dictator, President Robert Mugabe, passes on? Political upheavals like civil wars, military coups, and total state collapse are hard to predict but have massive ...

A few years ago, my colleagues and I published an article on forecasting instability in nations around the world.  Two things stood out in that paper.  First, the main determinant of instability was the type of regime.  States with partial democracies, especially ones that exhibited marked factionalism among political groups, ...

For twelve years, the Fund for Peace has calculated and published the Fragile States Index (FSI), which measures state fragility around the world based on over 100 social, economic, and political-military indicators. The Cipher Brief spoke with J. J. Messner, Executive Director of the Fund for Peace, to learn more ...