CAIRO: Out of 177 states, Egypt ranks 36 in the failed states index compiled by The Fund for Peace (FfP), an independent educational, research, and advocacy organization based in Washington, DC and published in the July/August issue of Foreign Policy Magazine.
State failure, defined among most academic circles, means state loss of physical control over the country s territory. Alternatively, it could mean loss of authority to execute decisions, provide the public with services and as a consequence, the state can no longer act as a cohesive entity and the only single representative of a population in the international arena.
The FfP used 12 indicators to measure state failure. According to the FfP website, Egypt scored 9 out of 10 in criminalization or de-legitimization of the state understood as massive and endemic corruption or profiteering by ruling elites, resistance of ruling elites to transparency, accountability and political representation, widespread loss of popular confidence in state institutions and processes and growth of crime syndicates linked to ruling elites.
Egypt received 8.5 out of 10 in suspension or arbitrary application of the rule of law and widespread violation of human rights.
Corruption in Egypt is widespread, ranging from taxi drivers trying to make an extra buck to Parliamentary ministers accusing the ruling National Democratic Party of rigging the 2005 elections, in which Hosni Mubarak, president since 1981, ‘won’ a fourth term by having himself re-nominated by parliament, then confirmed without opposition in a referendum, says the Egypt country profile.
The report suggests that the government’s responsibility for torture and the unlawful detention of dissidents, restrictions on press freedom, and the killing of Egyptians in the ferry sinking in the Red Sea as well as the train accidents as indicators for erosion of state legitimacy.
Egypt scored 8.3 in the rise of factionalized elites or the fragmentation of elites and state institutions along group lines and the use of nationalistic political rhetoric by ruling elites, according to the Index.
It also ranked high in uneven economic development along group lines and demographic pressures coming mostly from the unemployed young population and the over 86,000 Palestinian and Sudanese refugees unable to work.
While the ‘youth bulge’ decreased from 2005 to 2006, it is still fairly high, with 32.6 percent of the population under the age of 15, the Index reports.
The index also pointed to the spread of legacy of vengeance-seeking group grievance or group paranoia as another indicator of state failure where Egypt scored 7.8.
Other indicators of state failure include chronic human flight, uneven economic development, economic decline, deterioration of public services, security apparatus functioning as a state within the state and foreign intervention.
Sudan and Iraq ranked as the first and second failed states. Yemen ranked 24, Lebanon 28 and Egypt 36.
The Fund for Peace, established in 1957, aims at preventing war and alleviating the conditions that cause it to erupt.