Corruption survey shows Middle East's most troubled nations heading downhill

An international watchdog group says its annual survey shows the most violent nations in the Middle East are perceived to be the region's most corrupt and are getting worse.

Transparency International's 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index ranks more than four-fifths of countries in the Middle East below 50 on a scale where 0 is a country perceived to be highly corrupt and 100 perceived to be very clean.

Three countries that have undergone Arab Spring transformations dropped notably over the past year, with Yemen's rating falling five points to 18, Syria dropping nine points to 17, and Libya down six points to 15.

The survey of 177 countries is based on local and international experts' opinions of public-sector corruption. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia tied for last place with 8 points.