This research study focuses on failed state of Syria and Yemen; impact that civil-military affairs can have on revolutionizing failed state. Since the inception of its conflicts, the two countries have been rendered ineffective due to the dominant presence of war lords, paramilitary groups, armed gangs or terrorism. These states are not able to enforce its laws uniformly or even provide basic goods and services to its citizens because of extreme political corruption, judicial ineffectiveness, military interference in politics, impenetrable and ineffective bureaucracy among others. The political turmoil, proxy war and carnage in this Arab states ceases to abate instead result to massive humanitarian consequences such as exposure to hostilities, widespread displacement, destruction of livelihoods as well as the deterioration of basic services. These prolonged conflicts seem to defy all attempts made to resolve and restore lasting peace in the region; it continues to tear apart the social and economic fabric of both countries. An end to the crisis will require the application of the widest possible range of tools and instruments; Probably a mobilization of national and multinational institutions as well as non-governmental actors to broker a domestic political settlement that will satisfy all warring factions and interests as well as outside parties.
In conclusion, fixing a failed state entails establishing legitimate governance which will serve in building a basis for economic growth and development.
Background to the Study
Concept of failed states
There is a growing recognition of the threat to international security posed by failed and fragile states, often marred by serious internal conflict that also has the potential of destabilising neighbouring states and providing ungoverned territory that can provide safe haven for terrorists. The inability of their governments to provide basic services is considered a significant contributory factor. Poorly performing developing countries are linked to humanitarian catastrophes; mass migration; environmental degradation; regional instability; energy insecurity; global pandemics; international crime; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and, of course, transnational terrorism.
Baranyi and Powell (2005) argue that “conceptions of state fragility, weakness and failure converge around two ideas”.
Firstly, fragility refers to certain states’ inability and/or unwillingness to provide essential public goods like protection from external threats, rule of law and basic social services to most of their citizens. Secondly, fragility is a matter of degree – ranging from states that have ceased to exist in all but name and cannot provide protection or welfare to anyone, to certain states that can deliver most public goods to most of their citizens. Despite the large body of scholarly writings on the subject, there is no agreement on the definition of state failure. The most widely accepted definition is that offered by Zartman (1995), who defines failure as occurring when “the basic functions of the state are no longer performed”.
Patrick (2006) considers that “state strength is a relative concept and can be measured by the state’s ability and willingness to provide the fundamental political goods associated with statehood: physical security, legitimate political institutions, economic management, and social welfare”. Many countries have critical gaps in one or more of these four areas of governance. In effect; they possess legal but not actual sovereignty.
In the security realm, they struggle to maintain a monopoly on the use of force, control borders and territory, ensure public order, and provide safety from crime.
In the economic arena, they strain to carry out basic macroeconomic and fiscal policies or establish a legal and regulatory climate conducive to entrepreneurship, private enterprise, open trade, natural resource management, foreign investment, and economic growth.
In the political sphere, they lack legitimate governing institutions that provide effective administration, ensure checks on power, protect basic rights and freedoms, hold leaders accountable, deliver impartial justice, and permit broad citizen participation.
Finally, in the social domain, they fail to meet the basic needs of their populations by making even minimal investments in health, education, and other social services.
Recent studies were conducted by Patrick (2006), Krasner and Pascual (2003), Clemens and Moss (2005), François and Sud (2006), Malek (2006) and others. All agree that state failure causes a wide range of humanitarian, legal, and security problems. Kofi Annan remarked before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York in 2004 that, “whether the threat is terror or AIDS, a threat to one is a threat to all.… Our defences are only as strong as their weakest link.”(Annan, 2004).
According to US-government-commissioned State Failure Task Force, it link state failure to widespread internal conflict that further destabilises an already shaky regime (State Failure Task Force, 2000). Arguably, weak or failed states provide opportunities for actors outside the government – whether religious fundamentalists, disaffected citizens, or merely opportunists seeking power – to attempt to seize the state apparatus by violent means.