Issue

Fragile States

The balance of power between strong states was for decades the dominant issue in discussions of international security. But today, it is fragile states that are seen by many as posing potentially greater threats. Weak infrastructures, internal conflict, and lack of economic development provide fertile ground for trafficking, piracy, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, disease pandemics, regional tensions, and even genocide.

As a result, there is a growing movement in the international community to find comprehensive ways to promote stronger states, as well as more effective solutions to deal with those that are already on the brink of failure.

In Fragile States, you'll find reporting from around the world—from East Timor to Haiti, from Guinea Bissau to Afghanistan. The reporting demonstrates the dangers weak states pose—and also the international interventions that appear to be making a difference.

Fragile States was produced by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in partnership with The Bureau for International Reporting. Support provided by the Stanley Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Fragile States

April 01, 2009

Human Terrain: The New Counterinsurgency?

Vanessa M. Gezari

Since 2007, an experimental Pentagon program has been sending teams of civilian anthropologists and other social scientists into the hardest-fought regions of Iraq and Afghanistan to pursue a mission that's both deeply controversial and increasingly important to U.S. military strategy.

Social scientists work within frontline combat units...

August 08, 2008

Yemen: In a Fragile State

Ginny Hill

The poorest nation in the Arab world struggles with high population growth, 40% unemployment and a persistent flow of refugees from Somalia. In the next decade, its 22 million citizens will compete for increasingly scarce water supplies, as aquifers are drilled, pumped and drained unsustainably.

This is...

July 01, 2008

Sudan: The Forgotten North

Heba Aly

Northern Sudan is a region that has largely been ignored, eclipsed by rebellion in Darfur and a civil war in the south that lasted two decades. But in villages along the Nile in the Nubian desert, far from the conflicts in other parts of the country, Sudanese people are...

May 02, 2008

Afghanistan: Failure of Expectation

Shaun McCanna

The Taliban is not the only threat facing Afghanistan. The rise in poppy cultivation places the country at risk of moving from narco-economy to narco-state, and as eradication efforts continue to prove wildly unsuccessful, the threat increases. Yet the reasons for poppy's growing influence in the country are not...

July 09, 2007

Iraq: Death of a Nation? (revisited)

David Enders, Richard Rowley, Alaa Majeed

"Iraq: Death of a Nation" examines how the U.S. invasion and occupation created a multi-faceted civil war in which the U.S. is now actively arming multiple factions. Last summer, the project focused on how Iraq's refugee crisis was created by the invasion and the fighting that has followed. This...

July 30, 2006

Congo's Conflict: Profit and Loss

Mvemba Phezo Dizolele

Conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo have resulted in millions of Congolese lives lost, while benefiting the trade of small arms and valuable minerals like coltan.

DRC: UN Peacekeepers in Dungu

In Dungu’s Belgian chateau, UN peacekeepers maintain a small base where they have partied for nearly a decade. To reach Dungu means navigating a highway that has been a hotbed of LRA activity.

This Week: The Rise of the Corporate Army

This week, an investigation into the privatization of government armies in Palestinian territories, a glimpse of life in North Korea, and our video "Facing Risk" highlights the dangers of freelance journalism.