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

The Gangs of Karachi

Karachi is the world’s most violent city, with about 2,000 murders in 2013 as a result of its virulent gang politics. The city’s gangsters are openly linked to Pakistan’s national parties.

Russ Feingold in the Congo

For two decades, the eastern Congo has been ravaged by civil war. Can a former U.S. senator help bring peace?

How Assad Hangs On

Many experts thought Assad would be out of power by now. But the initial popular uprising has devolved into religious and ethnic strife. Assad is seen by some as the best hope for stability.

Peacekeepers: The Congo Case

UN enforcement of "responsibility to protect" has too often focused more on protecting UN troops than civilian populations. In eastern Congo UN military leaders are talking—and taking—a tougher line.

Facing Fears: Afghanistan on the Brink

What will happen to the progress that’s been made in education and women’s rights in Afghanistan? It’s a legacy NGOs have spent millions building. And many Afghans worry it's what is most at risk.

Syria’s Displaced: Regional Implications

At least 1.5 million people have fled the conflict in Syria. Most have taken refuge in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, where they are straining resources and raising concerns about regional stability.

The Untold Quiet of Kurdistan

What the Vietnamese photographer Lam Duc-Hein first imagined of Iraq were tanks and violence, surges and refugees. But in Iraqi Kurdistan he found something different and beautiful.

The Waterkeeper of Iraq

Water scarcity is becoming an increasingly pressing issue in the country's north, but one man is hoping to change that.

What Now for the Girls of War-Torn Syria?

In a bombed-out husk of a building on the outskirts of Tabqa, Gayle Lemmon met a family trying to wait out the hell of life under ISIS in Raqqa and the war for its liberation.

Meet the Journalist: Dominic Bracco

Photojournalist Dominic Bracco II's reporting follows Diego, a former gang member on his personal journey for reconciliation and redemption. In this video Bracco gives a behind-the-scenes look at the history of violence in Juarez.