Author Archives: Rob Sobhani

Op-Ed: Maryland needs a new plan for economic development

August 22, 2012

The state should aggressively market itself to foreign investors

Maryland’s economy is headed in the wrong direction. While the unemployment rate here is better than the national average, it remains high at 6.9 percent. What’s more, Maryland actually lost 11,000 jobs in the month of June, the third highest loss in the country. With its natural resources and highly educated workforce, Maryland should be booming, not receding. What our state needs is a new vision to catapult its huge potential into a global reality.

Going global is the key. Thanks to our highly-ranked schools and universities, Maryland has a knowledge-based economy. But we can do even more to establish industrial hubs around nanotechnology, human genomics, cyber-security and health care and cancer research. We should also aggressively recruit investors from abroad to finance these enterprises. Continue reading “Op-Ed: Maryland needs a new plan for economic development” »

Can U.S. exploit Middle East green energy potential? [CNN.com]

August 17, 2012

King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain is one of America’s key allies in the Persian Gulf. He’s also among a growing number of political leaders in the Middle East who see more than oil in the region’s future. After all, the Middle East is blessed with an abundance of another natural resource: sunshine.

Bahrain wants to take full advantage of this reality, and harnessing solar energy has become a top priority in the country. But the government has also taken the surprising step of seeking long-term partnerships with leading American solar energy companies.

Continue reading “Can U.S. exploit Middle East green energy potential? [CNN.com]” »

Crisis in Syria

July 19, 2012

As the United Nations Security Council prepares to vote on a new resolution aimed at curbing the violence in Syria, the White House is stating that President Bashar Assad is losing control of the county. Rob Sobhani joined FOX DC in studio with his take on the situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
View Rob’s interview on FOX DC here

Iran targets an American ally: Azerbaijan

July 17, 2012

News that the Iranian regime wanted to kill America’s ambassador to Azerbaijan in 2011 should not have come as a surprise to members of the U.S. Congress who have followed Tehran’s repeated attempts to undermine one of America’s most reliable allies in the broader Middle East. After spending a week in Baku, the vibrant capital of Azerbaijan, it has become very clear that the Iranian regime wants to overthrow this pro-western former Soviet republic on its northern border.

Tehran misses no opportunity to destabilize Azerbaijan. The pretext the week I visited Baku was that Azerbaijan was hosting Eurovision, the annual “American Idol” contest of Europe. That a Muslim nation would host singers, dancers, and tourists from all across Europe with open arms, irrespective of how they were dressed or their sexual orientation, is anathema to the intolerant mullahs of Iran. Beyond this superficial condemnation, there are more fundamental reasons for Iran to target this reliable American partner. Continue reading “Iran targets an American ally: Azerbaijan” »

American Foreign Policy Must Take Into Account Dueling Irans

July 3, 2012

As the world grapples with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, discussions abound in think tanks and capitals around the world concerning a key question: what makes Iran tick? The real question should be: which Iran?

The Iran of the government of the Islamic Republic, a serial human rights abuser that executes more people per capita than anywhere else in the world, undermines Iran’s enormous economic potential with corruption, mismanagement, and needless diplomatic spats, and sends money and weapons to Hezbollah, Hamas, and Bashar al-Assad’s goons killing the Syrian opposition?

Or the Iran of a young, dynamic populace hungry for democracy, dignity, and jobs, a population that, as Nicholas Kristof has reported recently in the New York Times, harbors little antipathy toward the United States and wants the same freedoms we all want, who are heirs to one of the world’s greatest civilizations that has produced some of the finest thinkers, artists, scientists – and even political leaders — the world has known? Continue reading “American Foreign Policy Must Take Into Account Dueling Irans” »

The Future of Solar Energy is Now

June 6, 2012

Caspian Energy advances smart solar energy in the Middle East with landmark deal in Bahrain

Petra Solar, The National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA), The Bahrain Petroleum Company, and Caspian Energy Holdings Announce Landmark Smart Solar Project in Bahrain

Distributed Smart Solar Energy Project in Awali breaks new ground by bringing both solar power and smart grid technology as a first step towards building a smart city in the Gulf

Petra Solar, a technology company focused on providing reliable, cost-effective smart energy solutions to the electric supply industry, The National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA), The Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) and Caspian Energy Holdings today announced an agreement for a five megawatt distributed smart solar energy project that will bring solar and smart grid benefits to the BAPCO township of Awali, the University of Bahrain and other locations in Bahrain. The project will leverage smart solar technology developed in the U.S. by Petra Solar to generate electricity in a reliable way that stabilizes the grid and will potentially create jobs at several skill levels in Bahrain. The project, a collaborative effort among the U.S. consortium, NOGA, BAPCO, The Electricity & Water Authority (EWA), academia, industry, and government, demonstrates Bahrain’s commitment to solve the challenges of energy security, climate change, and economic development through global partnerships and collaboration. It is the first phase of a national energy plan to generate electricity from renewable sources. Smart solar is an innovative approach that couples solar with smart grid technology and is deployed in partnership with utility companies to generate clean, safe renewable energy while making the electric infrastructure more stable, efficient and energy independent. This approach builds large scale solar in a reliable fashion that avoids future costs of rebuilding the grid. Continue reading “The Future of Solar Energy is Now” »

Iran’s Crisis Amid Plenty

March 14, 2012

The gap between the Iranian regime and the Iranian people continues to widen. Well-crafted words of hope and encouragement from Western leaders can help widen this gap and make it permanent. Below is a suggested draft for President Obama as he prepares his greeting to Iran on Nowruz (New Year), which falls on March 20.

Tonight as millions of Iranians gather around the Haft Sin table to celebrate Nowruz, on behalf of the American people I want to say Eid-e-shoma Mobarak—happy spring. Nowruz is about renewing bonds of friendship, doing away with the old and bringing in the new. The …

Read Full Article in The Wall Street Journal here

Obama’s Iran Moment

February 16, 2012

 

President Obama’s recent executive order freezing the assets of Iran’s clerical regime is another step in the right direction, bringing immediate pressure on Tehran. But a more significant move and quite possibly a game-changer would be an executive order, with close congressional consultation, to commit material and policy support for the aspirations of the Iranian people. According to former intelligence officials, the psychological boost of such an act alone by the president will cause a paradigm shift within the Iranian political world.

The fundamental premise of such an order would be to correct the failure of successive administrations to counter the Iranian regime’s covert and overt policy of low-intensity war with America. Continue reading “Obama’s Iran Moment” »

Capitalism With a Conscience

November 18, 2011

During the past few weeks Americans have witnessed increasing crowds gathered at Wall Street — the symbol of American capitalism — to protest the excesses of capitalism. It appears that whether in Athens, London, Madrid or New York, two fundamentally difference camps are fighting an ideological battle between savage capitalism and capitalism with a conscience. In the former only a few get ahead and prosper but in the latter we are all given an opportunity to prosper.

Those who are critical of capitalism — I call it “savage capitalism” — point out that many people in the middle class and lower middle class are left behind with little to no chance to increase their standard of living. They point to ridiculously large bonuses paid to Wall Street bankers and corruption in the American political system where money buys access and that access leads to special favors via the U.S. tax code. The end result of savage capitalism is an economic system where only the few and well-connected get rich. Continue reading “Capitalism With a Conscience” »

Saudi Arabia’s Consequential King

November 16, 2011

Forbes magazine recently ranked the top 70 most influential leaders in the world and ranked Saudi King Abdullah in 6th place. I would argue that the ruler of Saudi Arabia ranks as one of the top four most consequential leaders of today on par with the U.S., Russian and Chinese presidents. President Barack Obama’s observation that what happens in another part of the world affects us here at home could not be closer to reality and is the reason why King Abdullah matters to global stability.

As the world’s top crude oil producer and owner of 20% of the world’s remaining oil reserves, Saudi Arabia holds the key not only to America’s wallets but also to the global economy. What happens in Saudi Arabia can touch every corner of the globe. For example, if King Abdullah decides to use oil as a weapon it could directly impact American consumers and cut into disposable income. Luckily, the King views his stewardship of 270 billion barrels of crude oil as a means to allow the global economy to function smoothly and without price disruptions. Imagine for a moment what the hate-mongering Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khameni, would do if he controlled the world’s largest reserves of petroleum. Continue reading “Saudi Arabia’s Consequential King” »