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The business of battles: Libya’s wealthy use cash to take fight to Gaddafi

The business of battles: Libya’s wealthy use cash to take fight to Gaddafi

With a Kalashnikov rifle costing $3,000, businessmen in Libya use their wallets to fight for a cause, proving the wallet is just as effective as the weapons, if not more.

July 12, 2011 1:15 by

The company’s plant and Raied’s home were struck by missiles fired by Gaddafi loyalists in March.

Over the past four months, Raied, who has also been head of the chamber of commerce in Misrata for the past 12 years, has chartered a cargo ship of weapons and ammunition from Benghazi at a cost of $100,000.

He has chartered 25 flights to take injured Misrata residents from Benghazi to Tunisia at $20,000 a flight and has chartered a ferry for a month to maintain a link with Benghazi.

Al-Naseem employees away at the front line or involved in the uprising war effort still receive their wages.

When asked if he considered that an investment in the future of Libya, Raied gave a slight, slow shake of his head.

“It is our duty,” he said, holding up a forefinger as he spoke. “If we don’t do this, Gaddafi would return, destroy everything and kill people.

Two of Raied’s sons are fighting at the front and a third will join them soon. The Al-Naseem company sends an ice cream truck to the front line every day with supplies.

On a recent Reuters visit to the front line, a fighter walked down the line handing out Al-Nassem chilled yogurts, which were wolfed down by young men there.

The firm has also paid for 700 cargo containers full of food to be brought here to help prevent the people of Misrata from going hungry.

“Everyone must do their duty to the best of their ability,” Raied said. “We have the enemy in front of us and the sea behind us.”

“There is no way to go,” he added. “So we have to fight.” (By Nick Carey; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Photo taken from and taken by Maurizio Gambarini/Keystone Press.

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