FSI Score: 108.7
Sudan is going through a painful divorce. In January, the country's south voted to secede from the north -- an option made possible when a U.S.-brokered peace deal ended a decades-long north-south civil war in 2005. The referendum went smoothly, in part thanks to intensive international pressure on Khartoum to keep things peaceful. But by late spring, things were taking a turn for the worse. Khartoum and Juba, the capital of the new Southern Sudan, never agreed on a border -- and they especially never agreed on who would gain control of Abyei, an oil-rich region long claimed by both sides. In late May, Khartoum's soldiers moved into Abyei town, shelling a U.N. peacekeeping mission and displacing upwards of 100,000 people.
The worst-case scenario for Sudan -- a return to civil war -- is now looming on the horizon. Southern Sudan is set to formally become independent on July 9, but that may not go forward -- or at least not smoothly -- without some agreement over Abyei. In the meantime, the ongoing conflict is keeping Sudan's population of 42 million in a state of terror, particularly the more than 1.5 million who have fled their homes, some of whom are pictured here.
And even if partition goes ahead, Southern Sudan will be born amid a plethora of its own problems, earning it the dubious distinction of being a "pre-failed state." Only half the region's children are in school, a similarly dismal proportion has access to clean water, and 85 percent of adults cannot read or write. And the nascent government-in-the-making set to tackle all these challenges? Its budget is a mere $2.3 billion, about as much as the U.S. Defense Department requested for cybersecurity in 2011.
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