Global peace index 2013: the full list

The Global Peace Index for 2013 shows how world peace has changed over time – unsurprisingly, the violent conflict in Syria has had a big impact on the findings

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The world has become a less peaceful place according to the Institute for Economics and Peace. In their annual report, the Global Peace Index, they rank 162 countries by measuring security in society, the extent of conflict and the degree of militarisation. This year’s report reinforces a longer term pattern they have noted: since 2008 levels of peace have fallen by 5%.

Their findings are not altogether bleak. While the number and intensity of internal conflicts has risen in recent years, hostility between states has fallen. Overall, they found that 110 states have become less peaceful and that 48 have become more so.

Despite financial turmoil of recent years, Iceland has topped the list, thanks largely to its political stability, low homicide rate and small prison population. The top of the list was littered with Western European nations that have long been peaceful; Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden and Belgium all made it to the top 10. In 6th place, with stringent laws on …read more  

We can't just say 'arm Syrian rebels' – we must be clear what this means | Frank Ledwidge

The past decade suggests we’re not very good at understanding the dangers of taking the liberal intervention path

With Syrian forces reported to be moving on areas around Syria’s second city, Aleppo, the cause of so-called liberal interventionism appears to be receiving a boost. “The regime has chemical weapons and is using them; we cannot stand by,” goes the argument. Not wishing to frighten the horses with talk yet of “boots on the ground”, we hear “arm the rebels” instead. Unless we do, says General Salim Idriss, chief of staff of the Free Syrian Army, who seems to command very few troops on the ground, those same rebels will not attend any peace talks.

The first question any sensible politician needs to ask is: “If we’re doing this, with what kind of weapons shall we ‘arm the rebels?’ What can we provide over and above the more than $3bn of weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia and Qatar?” Let’s assume that those “rebels” who are minimally militarily competent are not jihadists linked to al-Qaida who learned their trade killing British and American soldiers in Iraq.

Let’s also assume, rightly, that jets, artillery and tanks …read more