NEW YORK TIMES, AP (USA)
Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the U.S.-led forces that stormed to victory in the first Persian Gulf War against Iraq in 1991, has died at the age of 78. The New York Times called Schwarzkopf the "most acclaimed military hero since the midcentury exploits of Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur."
The retired general died on Thursday in Tampa, Florida, of complications from pneumonia.
Dubbed "Stormin" Norman," Schwarzkopf's leadership of a coalition of forces in Operation Desert Storm used air power to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation, and routed Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard and virtually destroyed Iraq’s infrastructure, all with relatively light allied losses, the New York Times recalled.
After a career that included two battlefield tours in Vietnam and coordination of American forces in the 1983 invasion of Grenada, he became an instant hero with the Gulf War victory, and was welcomed home with a ticker-tape parade on Broadway.
He lived out a quiet retirement in Tampa, where he had served his last military assignment and where an elementary school bearing his name is testament to his standing in the community, reported the Associated Press.
Schwarzkopf with Colin Powell in 1991
Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.
At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.
The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.
The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.
Praying inside a Dutch mosque.
Broken trust in Islamic community
Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.
All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.
Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.
It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.
"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.
Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.
- Islam Became A 'Problem' In France When Muslims Became French ... ›
- Interlaken, The New Swiss Mecca For Rich Muslim Tourists ... ›
- Austria, A Laboratory For Hard-Line Policies On Islam - Worldcrunch ›