Arab Spring To BRIC Watershed: Countries Most Likely To Have Armed Riots

EconMatters's picture


BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are among the highest risk regions to have armed conflicts based on the third annual Conflict Intensity Index, an annual study evaluating the intensity of armed conflict across 197 nations, released by risk analysis companyMaplecroft.


On the country level, the study rates 12 countries as 'extreme risk':

  • Libya and Syria, which are ranked joint 1st
  • Afghanistan
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Iraq, Pakistan 
  • South Sudan 
  • At equal 8th are Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen
  • Egypt 
  • India 

Region-wise, three years data from Maplecroft show MENA (Middle East and North Africa), Central AfricaIndian subcontinent most at risk.  BRIC countries are also at ‘high’ and ‘extreme risk’  Nevertheless, significant opportunities could also exist for businesses, and investors, if those risks are properly managed.

Map Source: Maplecroft




Among the four BRIC countries, India is ranked 11 and ‘extreme risk’ for conflict intensity, while Russia (13) and China (29) are both rated ‘high risk.’ Maplecroft noted that protracted insurgencies and terrorist threats within these countries continue to present challenges to the business environment. Conflict, however, poses less of a risk in Brazil (60), which is rated ‘medium risk.’  According to the study:

India, the highest ranked of the BRICs countries, faces significant risks from Islamist terrorism. A particular source of concern is Lashkar-e-Taiba, a pan-Islamist terrorist group that desires the creation of a “caliphate” across the Indian subcontinent and the withdrawal of India from Kashmir. Lashkar-e-Taiba continues to launch attacks in Kashmir and India and is one of several groups suspected of the 13 July 2011 Mumbai bombings that killed at least 26. India is also enduring a 45-year-long Maoist insurgency from ‘Naxalite’ militants in the east of the country whose aim is to overthrow the current political system.

Shochwaves Of Arab Spring 


The shockwaves from the Arab Spring have propelled EgyptLibya and Syriainto the most severe risk category.


Maplecroft notes that generally, North Africa has witnessed an increase in its risk profile over the past three years reflecting the Arab Spring shockwave contagion across the region.  Egypt, for instance, just had the Black Sundayon Oct. 9, and the 2011 Egyptian revolution has resulted in significant loss of life with over 800 people estimated killed in the violence.


Libya is an OPEC member accounting for roughly 2% of world oil production; however, its light sweet crude is a preferred grade among many European and U.S. East Coast refiners. The riot and revolution in Libya disrupting the country's crude exportswas part of the reason Brent oil shot up to $123.15 in April this year.


Other OPEC countries are spending lavishly using their oil coffer to quell potential uprisings.  According to Bloomberg,

Saudi Arabia will spend $43 billion on its poorer citizens and religious institutions.  Kuwaitis are getting free food for a year. Civil servants in Algeria received a 34 percent pay rise. Desert cities in the United Arab Emirates may soon enjoy uninterrupted electricity.

Deadliest Conflicts


Maplecroft quoted Transitional National Council (TNC) of Libya that approximately 50,000 people have died in the conflict, and with a protracted armed struggle that is still ongoing, it is likely that the death toll will run into the tens of thousands, making Libya’s civil war the deadliest conflict of 2011.


In September, the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) estimated that Syria approximately 2,700 people have been killed since major protests began in March.


Yemen and Tunisia both have casualties of approximately 1,000 and 200 casualties respectively, according to estimates from the UNOHCHR  Meanwhile, increasing protests in Bahrain has prompted Maplecroft to upgrade the country from ‘medium’ to ‘high risk,’ with almost 30 people killed since February.


Analyst Jordan Perry at Maplecroft concludes that,

“Conflict exponentially increases the risk of doing business within a country, as operations are disrupted and employees and assets are endangered.” 

“......Ongoing monitoring of political risks, such as regime stability and conflict, in turbulent areas of operation is essential for companies to ensure business continuity and the safety of key personnel.”

Further Reading: Maps Du Jour: Food Inflation Riots and The Libyan Politics


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rodocostarica's picture

All right.... VIVA Costa Rica. Low risk but should be no risk. Also could be no stress. (only when I read zerohedge)



List 1: Countries with absolutely no military forces. Country Comments References  Costa Rica Costa Rica was the first country to formally abolish military forces. The constitution has forbidden a standing military since 1949. It does have a public security force, whose role includes law enforcement and internal security. For this reason Costa Rica is the headquarters for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and also the United Nations' University for Peace.
Mr. Magniloquent's picture

Afghanistan has been in armed revolt since 2001, and Iraq as of 2003. Furthermore, Cote d’Ivoire has been in armed revolt since 2002. I also find it hard to believe Pakistan is also only considered "at risk", considering how much of the country doesn't recognize Pakistan as soveriegn. This writer needs to brush-up on the last decade.

r3vbr's picture

Data can't be right! how can Norway be risky and Mexico not? 

JW n FL's picture



Potential Armed Conflict List.

#1 America

#2 who fucking cares! once we get rid of the EVIL here at home we can help others be free as well, like we should have been doing all along.. instead of propping up scumbags like in Bahrain!

High Plains Drifter's picture

all they have to do is end the fed here, and end usuary and the rest of it will fall into place. will there be pain. you betcha.....a heroin addict always has withdrawals and it will hurt very badly and the cost will be high......   or we have only two options. either kill them or they kill us....that is about it.

Vlad Tepid's picture

Yay!  My bug-out country is green!  

But what's up with Norway being high risk orange?  If they have armed riots, I will eat my hat.  Please hold me to that, ZH community.

etresoi's picture

When I arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, a decade ago, I said that I was a political refugee from the USA.  People thought I was joking.  Now, I am considered prescient.


High Plains Drifter's picture

what kind of machine gun do you have in your closet you lucky rascal? 

onthesquare's picture

of the green countries Canada is one but that may have something to do with our gun registry f**k up.  They spent billions going through the process, took most of our guns away from us, destroyed them then turned around and said it was too expensive to operate so everything goes back to the way it was.  Now we have to restock up on guns and until then we have no guns. 

Even if we were pushed to revolt we would not stand a chance.  So as far as calling Canada safe against an arm resorection one has to consider the fact that most of us have not arms.

Reptil's picture




The only thing that seperates that BRIC part of europe from the core, is that it's the south's turn now, and the north will have to wait. (except for the UK)

When (urban) populations get hungry, there's riots. That's the same all over the world.

All the (bypass-law) mechanisms to fuck the population and economy are in place:

falak pema's picture

the most endangered place in the world is not shown on this map. Its the oceans of the world and the destruction of its eco-zonal life. I know its huge but its maybe our last natural resource which we are doing our best to destroy.

Zer0henge's picture

All countries filled with muslims.  And some of you hail the Arab Spring as a watershed moment.  Yeah - for your wives - who will soon become muslims and end up locked in the water shed.  By you - willing converts.

macro-economist's picture

Zer0henge: ask ur right-wing, white supremacist, church to give you a baisc lesson in geography......India's Muslim population is a mere 10% of the country's 1.3 billion which, repeat after me, means that the chances of you meeting an Indian Muslim is one in ten if you take a random unbiased statistical sample (oh oh, that's too much for you I know)!

I am sure what worries you more is the fact that India has more honor kids in shcools and colleges than the US has kids! Better load up on the shot guns, a supply of canned peaches from Georgia and be ready for the event: pretty soon the guys who are on the other end of call centre lines will be taking over the US!: I just met Patricia who just married Vijay in Minnesota.......its happening all over America - if you came out of your Aryan camp you would see that!

mjk0259's picture

I do like their divorce laws and the multiple wives angle has possibilities. Plus they don't seem to be controlled by banksters although crazed reliigious zealots have their disadvantages The no alcohol thing has been holding me back so far. There's big mosque two blocks from my house in NJ and I have the women in full black sheets walking around regularly so I may not have a choice soon.


Dugald's picture

Are you sure they are not infact Ninja's

Sabibaby's picture

If you look, Japan is green so there will be little conflict in Japan :) There will be lots of radiation though!

High Plains Drifter's picture

as a nation, japan is finished. they just don't realize it yet. that business down in fukushima will only get worse as time goes by. and the fall out will spread and it will be all over japan before it is over. how can something be fixed, if human beings cannot get around it even for a few minutes without dying.......?  i suspect there was more to this fukushima story than meets the eye. was japan secretly in the process of produing nuclear bombs there?   etc etc etc.......

earleflorida's picture

as your aware of the fact that japan was fighting a major war with china when america weened them off [cut off?]  energy and steel in the twilight hours before wwll , thus we all know what happens when one's forced[?]hand,...  fights a two front war?

japan is not finnished by no means, but i would say china is on the precipice of civil war [quite common?] -

japan is a true democracy today, period

factoid: in 1967 china tested its first [1st] hydrogen bomb - mc`namara then asked japan if they would allow the u.s. to install 'nuke's' there facing china - prior to that,... japan had asked the u.s. to nuke china for them

factoid 2: truman and eisenhower were both softies on communism___ref; 'from the journals  1952-2000 of arthur m. schlesinger, jr.

ps. thorium nuclear reactors "don't melt down" but ge's do,... are facilitated and backed by "cameco and rio tinto inc."  for fuel and owned  by the oligarch family

lastly - the bric's if taken at the parts are worth more than the whole, whereas the "old world /new world" [ownw's] are by far much more fractional in comparison    jmo  

navy62802's picture

USA apparently equals black swan in this study. Make the armed citizens hungry enough and you've got an armed insurrection on your hands. Problem is no one knows how hungry we are because the official figures are a complete lie.

AustriAnnie's picture

We're not quite there yet.  The supply chain of food is still functioning.  When it stops, then its buckle-your-seatbelts-folks.

knukles's picture

Shhhhh... You'll be put on a list.

legal eagle's picture

Hey, aren't we already in armed conflict in like 6 countries? At home? Well there is the Patriot Act. When people show up at our doors with guns, that's conflict.

Parth's picture

On INdia somebody has it wrong. India is probably just like USA, with a rich 1% a minimal middle class and a large, I mean huuuuuge underclass. The Lashkar e toiba and Pakistan etc can't do much as there is even NATO pressure from the West by US forces. The Maoists are entrenched in economically unproductive areas except some mining zones. It doesn't matter. What matters is inflation and price of an onion. Food prices will dictate stability in India not much else.

AustriAnnie's picture

It seems to me the India/Pakistan tension could build and cause problems.  The religious divide is a potential for problems within India, especially if it is sparked at the border and cannot be contained?  Just a thought.

Parth's picture

Hi Austri,


Absoluteley impossible. India will not attack Pakistan even if provoked. Sure the headlines of terrorist attacks seem dramatic but overall the damage to India is much less than a limited war with Pakistan (no oil to take either). Pakistan is like herpes - its a small bloody mess, it can't be cured just periodically treated, but it won't kill you so learn to live with it because stressing over it is pointless.

macro-economist's picture

The only reason India will not attack PAkistan is because of the MAD (mutually assured destruction) scenario! Both countries have nuclear weapons that can and will be used if full-fledged war breaks out.

India triggered the nuclear arms race back in early 1970s when it conducted a nuclear underground test - at that time India didn't have half the economic prosperity it has today but what it did have is the burning desire to through its weight around small neighbours.

Then in 1998 India raised the stakes by testing full-fledged nuclear weapons. Paksitan, having no oil fieds, mineral wealth that would cause a "Coalition of the Willing" to protect it if India decided to attack, had to do the same and then suddenly . And so 2 countries where millions go hungry everday ended up with nuclear weapons!

You also know a lot about Herpes....hmmmm

Parth's picture



Nobody in his right mind wants a war with Pakistan. Not because Pakistan has nuclear weapons but because it is a worthless country(its not an insult, just plain fact) and a pain to manage post-war within todays political environment. Even you seem to have left Pakistan, I have a number of Pakistani friends, they do not even say they are from Pak. They say they are Indian. Just shows you what regard the world has for Pak due to the ISI-Islamic radical nexus, nothing else really.

Pakistan had good things going for it but they should have opened IT schools like India but now they have madrassahs. So don't think that India or USA will not invade due to nukes. They may just nuke Pak so quick that it can't even launch its nukes. You greatly underestimate INdias and USA's ability to go on a bloody destructive mode. Remember Dresden and Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

macro-economist's picture

I am not from Pakistan. But you are like all the Indian acquaintances in my life - you cannot live a day, write an article, or do anything in life unless you have had an opportunity to bash Pakistan. The facts are that India started the nuclear arms race - taught to me in my History 101 classes in the 1980s because India had already gone nuclear in the 1970s in a region where most people live on less than $100 a month.

I am stunned that you have Pakistani friends who call themselves Indians! But I think that's what's tainted your world view. 

And its hilarious the way you hide behind the US when you suddenly talk about India and USA nuking Pakistan!! lol!! A person who gets satisfaction thinking about Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki has serious issues in life!

IF India were that great then I don't think there would be 90,000 Indians a year running to the US of A voluntarily on H1-B visas!

Parth's picture

Macro, I do not have to bash Pakistan. Its on the news everyday, check Yahoo and the messageboard. And if you think that Pakistanis proudly walk around in any average US bar, airport etc and claim"I am from Pakistan" I would have to stop laughing. They all say they are from India. 90,000 INdians running for H-1? Please its less than 65,000 and why not? Certainly US offers better living conditions and salaries. However the rush to US has stopped and the flow is reversing.. ANd not only US, Indians are leaving in droves, but thats another story, I am not tooting India's horn on this board. As far as stability and peace go Pakistan better not be dreaming that it won't be punished if it has nukes. ANd oh India's key resource to attack Pak will not be US, but Israel. 

macro-economist's picture

lol!  I am sure India and Israel are natural allies - a baptist minister was saying the same thing the other day. And I am sure India's 1.3 billion need Israel's 8 million's help.

I think India is better off picking on someone its own size instead of seeking tiny Israel's help here and there to bully much smaller neighbours!

Say, how about China?: the populations are roughly equal -  opps! it already happened in 1960s and we all know how that ended.

I have a Sri Lankan friend at the office and you should meet him: he has amazing stories about what a good neighbour India is to have. I thought he was hyping it given that his village was at war for years from a pro-Indian malitia but since I have met you I think otherwise. And yes, I have met Pakistanis and Indians at the office as well and so far all Pakistanis I have met have never lied or hidden from me (who is neither Indian nor Pakistani) their national origin and they work side-by-side with all nationalities at the office.

Say, did you share with your so-called Pakistani friends what you have written on ZH: i.e that you think their country is like herpes?. Please do and let us know how that works out. I will certainly tell my office colleagues about your comments and will let you know what they say.

I am glad I have met an Indian like you: opens my mind. So far all the Indians I met at the office were pretty reasonable people who believe in peace, stability and no one has told me that they seek solace in Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki or that they want Israel as an ally to harm other countries. But I guess it takes all kinds. 

Parth's picture

Macro u have warped views. I virtually had tons of Sri Lankan friends in university and trhey had a very grievious civil war in which India had a very confused role, As far as neighbours go consider having Pakistan instead of Mexico and option INdia. No debate u would not want Pakistan anywhere closeby. As far as attacking Pakistan, if anybody finally has to do it China may also join, remember the latest terror threats in Xingjiang province in China. They were from Pak area backed terrorists. They need Israeli weapon systems to strategically take out Pak terror camps. WHo would want a full assault on Pakistan? THat would be like cleaning a rats in a sewer. Nauseaous. What a waste of resources, just get those Israeli drones. Just like those missile cameras before they got the Iraqi tanks. Smile you bas...

Freddie's picture

Well India and Pakistan were threatening a nuke exchange a few years back.  The good news for something like that is if I call Dell, HP, Vanguard or many major US corps - I will not get a curry shop in Bangalore.  I might actually get an American.

macro-economist's picture

lol! but no such luck Freddie.....Indians were the single largest nationals who were consumers of H1-B visas in the 1990s and 2000s and there's plenty of them in the US now and even the recession didn't cause an exodus back to their glorious democratic homeland - they have decided to stay here. 

With all this recession, I wouldn't be suprised if I heard Vikram Pundit's voice (Citi CEO) when I call HP to restart my laptop when it crashes! 

Parth's picture

Freddie Kreuger,


There are ample curry shops in USA. Tried any? Tasty! Plus you gonna pay a lot more for customer service from US based centers. You may get an American in a curry shop in Bangalore then u have it both ways- correct accent and great prices. We aim to please and profit.

AustriAnnie's picture

Would there need to be a war between Pakistan and India?  Or just rumblings enough to get internal religious in-fighting within India going?  I don't know a lot about India so I'm just wondering, since as I understand, they have had religious conflicts in their history?

Parth's picture

Thats a point Austri, but again the religious riots are usually contained quickly. People in India now have jobs to worry about. The riots are moving to USA where there are a lot of jobless with time to kill.

AustriAnnie's picture

I'm not convinced.  Seems likely India will have hungry people rioting before we will.

Plus, India will feel pain from economic slowdown here or in China.  And their masses are already living under poverty.  Add to that the fact that their society is class-based and has such clear ethnic divides, with tensions over Afghanistan building with Pakistan.  I think there is a lot of potential for hard times.

I'm not saying Americans won't riot just because they want entitlements.  But I wouldnt say India is going to avoid turmoil either.

Parth's picture



India will have major riots for only one major reason- food prices, and that may happen before the US gets into the same shape obviously. India is an export economy and devalues its currency and hence food prices rise quicker. The poor cannot afford food and then u have riots-no brainer. We in the US are more secure than that - no question.

mjk0259's picture

Indians been hungry a long time. The poverty and exploitation of the hundreds of millions of lower class people there is stunning. The British were able to control it with a few ten thousands of soldiers so I don't expect the present Indian ruling class to be unable to do so.

Parth's picture

When the British ruled India the maximum population was 250 million. Its now 1 billion. Obviously they are not starving, but power shortage is the next thing. The British had a lot more soldiers with support from local kings. Indians are very unruly people and impossible to control- perhaps the easiest people to push around are AMericans- I have lived in both places and have both citizenships, trust me.

MrBinkeyWhat's picture

Wait, wait, wait. The "US" is not up there in the "risk list"?  OH YEA!...Who wrote this again?

All is "real good here in the homeland"...oh yea. Nothing to see here...move along.

HAIL VICTORY!    Ctrl/Sarc

dolly madison's picture

I also thought Canada having low risk was off.  They already had a riot.

michael___c's picture

that wasn't a riot, just a street brawl, if you're talking about vancouver. drunken people celebrating the outcome of a hockey game. it's periodic and coincides with a canadian team being in the stanley cup final.

i echo the other writers on here. we don't have guns. e.g.i have never seen a handgun in my life, except on tv.

so the only armed rioting in canada is likely to involve hockey sticks.


michael___c's picture

correction, the good guys don't have guns. the gangs do and the cops do though.

AustriAnnie's picture

I think they are defining "conflict" as more than that.  Per the co:

" It looks at the broad range of conflicts – not only those that take place between two states, but also those within countries between state security forces and rebel militias, or between different ethnic and religious communities.  The index is primarily calculated using the number of fatalities caused by conflict in each country between October 2010 and August 2011. However, it also considers critical precursors to conflict, such as threats of violence and economic sanctions."

In other words its not actually forward-looking so much as backward-looking and assuming trends will stay the same (with just a touch of consideration to "precursors" that might signal future issues.) Though they assume the conflict would arise from the same sources they have recently in other countries, such as sanctions/threats of violence.  I wonder if they consider the potential for economic/currency collapse?  Prob not so much.

So we have them excluding black swan U.S. event.  That which they call a black swan, others might call a more likely scenario.  Fits in with the Zeikel post On Thinking (posted yesterday or day before).

Parth's picture

The only major crisis in US that affected me was Netflix uped its subscription for DVDs. It does make me really mad mad mad!

Bansters-in-my- feces's picture

Conflict Intesity Intesity Index.?

Too funny,

ejhickey's picture

"Wall Street Protest Starting to Look Like Tahrir Square, Egypt"


does that mean Obama is like Mubarak and the protestors will demand his resignation?

dolly madison's picture

Somebody on Squawk Box this morning said they had been to the protest, and saw plenty of anti-Obama signs and anti-Geitner signs.