Collapsed Arab states

 19 Sep 2013 - 2:55

Robert Irwin Rotberg, an American professor of governance and foreign affairs, defines failed and failing states as ones that cannot deliver positive political commodities to their people. 

By the term “political commodities”, Rotberg means security, education and health services. 

He also means economic opportunities, environmental control, a legal framework for public order, a judiciary for the management of the state and basic infrastructure requirements, including roads and communications. Security is the most important political commodity for people.

There are many metrics to rate these states. The most significant of these metrics was published by the American magazine Foreign Policy. This rating depends on determining political, security, economic and social indices that are quantifiable and reflect the condition of these states.

These indices show the efficiency of the government and its role and ability to carry out tasks entrusted to the state in these areas. Overall, these indices reflect the degree of the state’s failure.

This means states that get the highest points in these indices are the most failing states. The list goes down, according to the total number of points, to the most stable states at the bottom.

Brookings Institution has similar metrics for “vulnerable states”. These metrics deal with four indices, namely economic growth, political institutions, particularly parliament strength, security and social welfare. Brookings Institution’s report distinguishes between failed and failing states, vulnerable states and states with worrying situations. 

What is noticeable is that in all indices the ranking of Arab states, including Gulf states, is mostly not honourable. Gulf countries enjoy stable economies but lack political mobility and an active civil society.

After the Arab Spring, however, the concept of a disintegrated or collapsed state has emerged. Collapsed states are ones where state institutions collapse and rule of law falters. They are also ones where order is under pressure.

Arab countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen can easily go down the slippery slope of violence and bloodshed like Syria has done over the past two and a half years. The worst case scenario for these countries is to exist on the map but to turn into ghost nations totally dependent on the international system for survival.

 

Robert Irwin Rotberg, an American professor of governance and foreign affairs, defines failed and failing states as ones that cannot deliver positive political commodities to their people. 

By the term “political commodities”, Rotberg means security, education and health services. 

He also means economic opportunities, environmental control, a legal framework for public order, a judiciary for the management of the state and basic infrastructure requirements, including roads and communications. Security is the most important political commodity for people.

There are many metrics to rate these states. The most significant of these metrics was published by the American magazine Foreign Policy. This rating depends on determining political, security, economic and social indices that are quantifiable and reflect the condition of these states.

These indices show the efficiency of the government and its role and ability to carry out tasks entrusted to the state in these areas. Overall, these indices reflect the degree of the state’s failure.

This means states that get the highest points in these indices are the most failing states. The list goes down, according to the total number of points, to the most stable states at the bottom.

Brookings Institution has similar metrics for “vulnerable states”. These metrics deal with four indices, namely economic growth, political institutions, particularly parliament strength, security and social welfare. Brookings Institution’s report distinguishes between failed and failing states, vulnerable states and states with worrying situations. 

What is noticeable is that in all indices the ranking of Arab states, including Gulf states, is mostly not honourable. Gulf countries enjoy stable economies but lack political mobility and an active civil society.

After the Arab Spring, however, the concept of a disintegrated or collapsed state has emerged. Collapsed states are ones where state institutions collapse and rule of law falters. They are also ones where order is under pressure.

Arab countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen can easily go down the slippery slope of violence and bloodshed like Syria has done over the past two and a half years. The worst case scenario for these countries is to exist on the map but to turn into ghost nations totally dependent on the international system for survival.