Qatar remains the “most peaceful” country in the MENA region for the fifth year in a row in the 2013 Global Peace Index rankings, but its score has taken a tumble due to its involvement in the Syrian civil war, the report states.
The country is now 19th out of some 162 countries, seven spots down from last year’s ranking of 12th.
But Qatar is still high above the UAE, which at 36th is the second most peaceful country in the Middle East.
The annual index, which was created by the Institute of Economics and Peace, ranks nations by their “absence of violence,” using criteria such as perceived criminality in society, homicide rates, jailed populations, access to weapons, violent demonstrations and political instability.
Overall, the world has become a less peaceful place, not because of hostilities between countries, but because of internal strife, particularly in the Middle East, the report states.
How MENA fared
According to the index, Bahrain and Qatar are the only GCC countries to see a drop in their rankings.
Meanwhile, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Libya all moved up, though the region as a whole became less peaceful because of fallout from the Arab Spring revolutions and the ongoing conflict in Syria.
The index attributes Qatar’s drop to the government’s “increasingly assertive foreign policy, which has led to friction with other regional powers (and has consequently prompted a deterioration in the emirate’s score for relations with neighbouring countries), and been accompanied by a ramping up of military spending.”
“Qatar’s predilection for foreign intervention has been especially evident of late in Syria, where Qatar has been funnelling arms and money to the opposition, which, unsurprisingly, saw the region’s biggest fall in score this year and is now the lowest-ranked MENA country in the GPI.”
Here’s an interactive map with more details about each country. Also, read the full report below: