Each year the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) releases an update of the Global Peace Index (GPI). In it, 163 countries are ranked from most to least peaceful. They are ranked according to 24 indicators that measure the level of violence, militarism, and the presence, absence, and nature of a functioning government. The indicators are placed in four categories. They are:
- Societal safety and security
- International conflict
- Domestic and human rights
To help you make sense of the Index, we look at data sets from groups of countries according to region.
Related: Most dangerous countries in Africa
Most Dangerous Countries in the Middle East in 2023
According to the people behind the Global Peace Index, the Middle East and North Africa make up the least peaceful region on Earth. Their experts have been quoted saying, “It is home to four of the least peaceful nations in the world. It contains no country that has ranked higher than 30 on our Index.”
The GPI covers the five least and most peaceful nations in the Middle East. The following are the least peaceful.
GPI Score: 2.615 / Rank: 138
Ranked at 138, the US State Department advice its citizens to “reconsider travel to Lebanon due to crime, terrorism, armed conflict, civil unrest, kidnapping and Embassy Beirut’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens.”
Other than that, Lebanon is relatively safe to visit. Despite recent political unrest and violence in the country, it is still possible to visit Lebanon without putting one’s life in danger.
While there is always some risk when traveling to any destination, avoiding these risks and remaining safe is critical.
The first item to examine is Lebanon’s overall safety. While there are some regions of Lebanon to avoid due to high crime rates or inadequate infrastructure, the vast majority of the country is completely safe to visit.
Make sure to conduct research and read up on any regions you intend to visit or stay in so that you are aware of any potential safety hazards.
Latest News from Lebanon:
– March 9: Lebanon: Electricity Crisis Exacerbates Poverty, Inequality
GPI Score: 2.687 / Rank: 141
Despite the fact that travel.state.gov has Iran on a do-not-travel list due to the risk of the kidnapping and arbitrary arrest of westerners, other sites like TheBrokeBackpacker.com call Iran safe to visit.
Because Iran is a theocracy, like all countries on our list, visitors can be detained or disappeared for perceived infractions of religious law, a danger throughout the Islamic world.
Still, the murder rate is low at 2.2 per 100,000.
Latest News from Iran:
– February 5: Iran acknowledges tens of thousands detained in protests
GPI Score: 2.785 / Rank: 145
Turkey is known to contain areas of considerable risk. However, because it has a relatively stable government and an active economy, citizens live well above the crushing poverty found throughout most of the countries on our list.
Turkey is a theocracy, but the rule of law tempers it to a degree. According to travel.state.gov, visitors are strongly recommended to read the entire travel warning for Turkey. This is because there are specific danger zones that should be avoided.
Turkey’s murder rate is 2.5 per 100,000.
Recent News from Turkey:
– February 8: Emotions run high in Turkey amid questions over state response to deadly quake
– February 8: Turkey and Syria earthquake: Death toll surpasses 12,000 while Istanbul suspends stock exchange – latest updates
Related: Is it safe to visit Turkey now?
GPI Score: 3.166 / Rank: 151
In December 2017, Iraqi officials declared victory in their fight against the terrorist group, ISIS. The country is in a recovery cycle from years of brutal conflict and still remains low on the GPI. Terrorism and kidnappings are still common occurrences all across the country.
Travel to a number of regions in the country is advised against by the FCO. The official murder rate has remained stable, since 2013. However, these metrics have been difficult to measure since the first US invasion of the country. Still, the official murder rate is 10.1 per 100,000.
GPI Score: 3.356 / Rank: 161
Declared the least peaceful country in the world in 2019, Syria has risen in the ranks with Afghanistan and Yemen taking its place in turns. Sadly, this small improvement leaves little for the people of Syria to be thankful for. The effects of recent civil wars have generated lasting suffering.
Its murder rate somehow remains slightly lower than that of Iraq, at .9 per 100,000. Still, this marginal difference vanishes behind crushing poverty, instability of government, and the persistent presence of crime. At the time of this writing the plight of Syria has been forgotten in the US only due to the emergence of conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
GPI Score: 3.554 / Rank: 162
At the nadir of our list comes the location of the world’s most severe humanitarian crisis, according to Vision of Humanity, Over 24 million people are in need of assistance and have been blocked repeatedly.
Vision of Humanity notes, “Nearly half a decade of military stalemate between Houthi rebels and the US-armed Yemeni government continued well into 2019″ has created some of the harshest living conditions on Earth.
Again, the murder rate is relatively low for our list at 6.8 people murdered for every 100,000. But it must be borne in mind that crushing poverty and oppressive conditions make this country far more dangerous than murder rates alone can depict.
Latest News from Yemen:
– January 18: Saudi foreign minister sees progress towards ending Yemen war