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” »

Roots of a Palestinian statehood stalemate

October 20, 2011

When the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 planted a celebratory kiss on the lips of Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the act sealed the destiny of three peoples: Jews, Iranians and Palestinians.

For Iran’s Jewish community, it meant the beginning of executions and the escape of thousands of Iranian Jews from their homeland. For Israel, it meant the start of a campaign of terror by the new clerical regime in Tehran, both directly and through its proxies such as Hezbollah and, later, Hamas. The irony is that Iran’s secular rulers – from Cyrus the Great, who freed the Jews from their Babylonian captivity, to the late Shah of Iran, who believed firmly in a strategic relationship with the Jewish state – have always held a special regard for Jews and the nation of Israel. Sadly for the state of IsraelKhomeini’s kiss turned out to be a kiss of death, literally, creating a campaign of terror against Jews inside and outside of Israel. Continue reading “Roots of a Palestinian statehood stalemate” »

Obama’s Zimbabwe Moment

October 20, 2011

As the world focuses on events in the Arab world, and as dictators such as Muammar Gaddafi are overthrown, America’s first African-American president has a historic chance to deal with one of Africa’s most vicious despots — Robert Mugabe. Mugabe has imposed economic, financial, social and environmental ruin on his nation, and it is time to call an end to his reign of destruction.

Since his election in 1980, Mugabe, now seventy-nine, has created a virtual “how-to” manual for national destruction. Although many of his methods have been applied elsewhere, taken as a whole his approach is more radical and more comprehensive than that of other despots. In January of 1983 Mugabe, a member of the ethnic Shona majority, ordered his North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade to carry out what he called a gukurahundi against the Ndebele people. The Ndebele account for about a fourth of the country’s population, and Mugabe felt that they threatened him because his chief political rival at the time, Joshua Nkomo, was a Ndebele. The Nazis gave us the Final Solution, the Serbs gave us “ethnic cleansing,” and Mugabe has given us “wiping away.” Continue reading “Obama’s Zimbabwe Moment” »

From Baku to Baltimore: An Investment in Education

October 20, 2011

Beyond the first two letters in their names Baltimore and Baku appear to have very little in common. Baku is the capital of energy-rich Azerbaijan, a republic of the former Soviet Union the size of Maryland with a population of eight million. With an oil fund in excess of $32 billion and projected revenues of $200 billion by 2024, Azerbaijan is fast becoming the Kuwait of the former Soviet Union. But it is not oil wealth that distinguishes this secular Muslim country sandwiched between a resurgent Russia and a fundamentalist Iran.

Religious freedom and tolerance is its bedrock. For example, Azerbaijan is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world and in celebration of this fact last year the Chief Rabbi of Israel visited Azerbaijan to inaugurate Baku’s largest synagogue. Even members of the Bahai faith, who are persecuted and tortured in neighboring Iran, are free to practice their religion in Azerbaijan. Not surprisingly, the regime in Iran has tried to undermine Azerbaijan’s secular system on numerous occasions as to decouple Baku from ties with the U.S. and Israel. Continue reading “From Baku to Baltimore: An Investment in Education” »

U.S.-Bahrain Relations: A Lesson From History

October 6, 2011

One of the greatest geopolitical and strategic setbacks for the U.S. occurred with the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979. Not only was the genie of Islamic fundamentalism allowed to rear its anti-American and anti-Semitic head out of the bottle, but America lost one of its most staunch and reliable allies in the region. Today the Kingdom of Bahrain is facing similar pressures to those faced by the Shah over thirty-two years ago and the fundamental challenge for Washington is how to craft a policy towards Bahrain that keeps King Hamad in charge but addresses the legitimate and deep-seated grievances of the majority Shia population. Thirty years ago Washington abandoned its ally in favor of what some called “a saint” and the Ayatollah Khomeini turned Iran into an Islamic Republic and in the process transformed Iran into a state-sponsor of terrorism. Continue reading “U.S.-Bahrain Relations: A Lesson From History” »

U.S. Debt Crisis and Leadership

July 26, 2011

Leadership is when you plant a tree but do not live long enough to sit under its shadows. President Obama is young enough to plant the tree of economic growth and live under its shadows if he shows leadership on the national debt crisis. President Obama can show statesmanship, courage, and vision by immediately announcing that he will not spend time campaigning for re-election and will instead spend his remaining time in office to put America back onto the path of solvency and economic growth. Continue reading “U.S. Debt Crisis and Leadership” »