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ABSTRACT. The majority of states in the world today can be classified as weak, failing, or failed. These fragile states are unable to control their territory, maintain a monopoly over the use of force, or perform core functions for their citizens. Often they are also plagued by excessive corruption. As a result of these conditions, fragile states afford opportunities that various kinds of armed groups can and do exploit. Armed groups become empowered in these states and then pose threats to local, regional, and even global stability. As a result, weak, failing, and failed states will constitute a major international security problem well into the 21st century because they provide havens in which increasing powerful armed groups can recruit, plan, train, and build up a resource base and from which they can deploy to execute operations. pp. 28–49

Keywords: fragile states, armed groups, legitimacy, security, capacity, conflict

QUERINE HANLON
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National Defense University/
United States Institute of Peace
RICHARD SHULTZ
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Tufts University
ROY GODSON
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Georgetown University
SAMANTHA RAVICH
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