August 17, 2012
July 19, 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]” »
June 6, 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
March 14, 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” »
February 16, 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
November 16, 2011
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” »
October 20, 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” »
October 6, 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 Israel, Khomeini’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” »
July 24, 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” »
July 20, 2011
The recent appointment of 48-year old Prince Abdulaziz to Deputy Foreign Minister by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is a clear signal to the world that the reformist monarch of the world’s largest oil exporter plans to have his sons continue his legacy once he leaves the scene. Last year King Abdullah appointed his eldest son Prince Miteb to head the Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) — one of the main pillars of Saudi Arabia’s institutions. It is indeed in America’s national security interest to work closely with the sons of King Abdullah since they are more likely to continue their father’s reformist agenda. Prince Miteb is a graduate of Sandhurst and Prince Abdulaziz is well versed in the details of U.S.-Saudi relations. Both men will continue to support the institutions their father has put in place to ensure the gradual transition of the Kingdom into a more inclusive and open society. Continue reading “The Standard-Bearers of King Abdullah” »
Could this small Gulf state become America’s most important Arab ally?
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION will get no help from most Arab nations in a war against Iraq. The Arab League not only opposes an attack, but last week lauded the Iraqis for opening talks with the United Nations about reviving arms inspections. The Saudis won’t let American warplanes fly sorties against Iraq from the U.S. air base in Saudi Arabia. And Bahrain was pressured by Iran into public opposition to any military action against Iraq. But then there’s Qatar, the small Persian Gulf state of 700,000 people that’s quietly promoting democratic reform and ties to America. Continue reading “Qatar Politics: The U.S.’s most important Arab ally?” »