World News and Trends: Failed states threaten British security

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Failed states threaten British security

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An important U.K. report published by the Commission on National Security—a project sponsored by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)—called attention to weak states as major threats to Britain's security. The more-than-20 such states have a combined population of 880 million.

Somalia is at the top of the list. Drought, al-Qaeda influence and even piracy are major factors in making it a threat. In alphabetical order this list of potential failed states also includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Haiti, Nigeria and Pakistan. Some are concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, an arc of instability that poses security problems for not only Britain, but the United States and the entire Western world.

The IPPR report concluded that "weak, corrupt and failing states have become bigger security risks than strong states . . . They are the targets of transnational criminal networks which are expanding their drugs, arms and people trafficking" (Richard Norton-Taylor, "Weak States Are Major Threat to British Security, Report Warns," The Guardian, Nov. 27, 2008).

This report warns that "storm clouds are gathering [in the African arc of instability], creating profound and direct challenges to UK and wider international security" (ibid.). These little-governed or ungovernable areas of the globe warrant our attention as actual and potential sources of terrorist attacks. (Source: The Guardian [London].)