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Yemen is a greater threat to world stability than Afghanistan according to LSE Research magazine

Yemen is a greater threat to world stability than Afghanistan, lobbyists lose money as they lose friends in high places and the world's centre of economic gravity is sliding inexorably eastward.  These are some of the key findings and articles in a new edition of LSE Research 

Yemen is more unstable and potentially more dangerous than even Afghanistan, according to a study of global terrorism in the magazine.

It highlights a country on the brink of failed statehood because of a mix of internal rebellion, a resurgent Al Qaeda presence, dwindling reserves of oil and water and the flow of men, money and arms from Somalia - just across the Gulf of Aden. 

Map of YemenThe instability of Yemen, argues the article by Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, is an international problem. Yemeni-based terrorism sponsored both the killing of 13 soldiers at the US base Fort Hood in November and the attempt to blow up an airline in Detroit on Christmas Day, while the tottering state also threatens smooth operation of sea lanes around the Gulf of Arabia. 

For other Gulf states, he writes, Yemen is the 'canary in the coalmine', the warning sign of what can go wrong in a region trying to diversify its economy and considering political reform. 

LSE Research's special report on terrorism also looks at how clumsy attempts to crack down on jihadist activity on the internet have backfired. Mina Al-Lami shows how a proliferation of radical activity online survived cyber attacks on the most militant websites. Jihadists simply gathered in new places, pointing to the attacks as further evidence of a 'crusade' against Islam. In contrast, social sites with an uncensored mix of Islamic opinion have seen extremist opinion challenged and scrutinised as never before. 

A third terrorism piece, by Justin Gest, looks at how Western societies which adopt policies towards Muslims founded on fear and mistrust risk alienating the very people who can, as active citizens, isolate extremists. 

This is the second edition of LSE Research a magazine which brings ground-breaking research work, and its implications for policy, to a targeted audience in politics, government, the media and commerce. It is edited by Stryker McGuire, a contributing editor at Newsweek. 

Capitol building, WashingtonThe latest edition also includes an analysis of the earnings of political lobbyists in Washington which demonstrates that the rates former Congressional staff can charge drop sharply – by 20 per cent on average - after the Senators or Congressmen for whom they worked leave office.  

The study's authors, Jordi Blanes i Vidal, Mirko Draca and Christian Fons-Rosen from the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE, conclude that political influence – access and connections – is bought and sold in Washington and not the skills of lobbyists in themselves. 

This has powerful policy implications for the UK where the coalition government has promised to reform lobbyists by introducing a register of them and making their operation more transparent. 

LSE Research also looks in detail at the shifts of geo-political power, from West to East and especially from the US to China. Professors Mick Cox, Niall Ferguson and Arne Westad give different accounts of the realities (and myths) of this shift and suggest how it might play out. Meanwhile Danny Quah delivers a graphic illustration of the shift – a map of the world's changing centre of economic gravity – including the point at which it will lie in 2050. 

LSE Research: Issue Two 


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