Tuesday, December 14, 2010



LONDON -- Somalia, Gaza, the West Bank and Haiti are the world's least stable environments, Jane's Country Stability Ratings released Tuesday indicate.

To determine a country's or region's stability, Jane's Intelligence Review examines 24 criteria, including categories such as political, social, economic, military and security factors, the organization said in a release.

In the Jane's Country Stability Ratings for 2010, Somalia was ranked the least stable entity for a second straight year. Jane's said the ranking reflects the country's continued fighting between the government and Islamic militia, the near continuous fighting Mogadishu, the presence of pirates and the decreasing likelihood President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed will broker an agreement between the government and factions of the opposition.

A devastating earthquake in January and increasingly violent protests propelled Haiti from the ninth spot in 2009 to third this year, said Jane's, based in London.

Rounding out the top troubled spots are Chad, Afghanistan, Guinea, Central African Republic, Sudan, Zmbabwe and Guinea-Bissau.

"In 2010, the most significant shifts in stability have been negative," said Anna Gilmour, editor of Jane's Intelligence Review.

Looking ahead to 2011, Gilmour said international attention will focus on leadership transitions in three countries: North Korea, China and the United States.

In North Korea, leader Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un is positioned as the next leader, while Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's appointment as vice chairman of the Central Military Commission "makes it all but certain" he will succeed President Hu Jintao in 2013, she said.

"In the U.S.," Gilmour said, "Republican gains in the U.S. mid-term elections in November will put President Barack Obama on the defensive as he begins looking to his prospects for re-election in 2012."

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