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This is the first time America and Europe have intervened militarily in any of the popular upheavals rolling through the Middle East since Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution in early January. The advisers, including intelligence officers, were dropped from warships and missile boats at the coastal towns of Benghazi and Tobruk Thursday Feb. 24, for a threefold mission:
1. To help the revolutionary committees controlling eastern Libyan establish government frameworks for supplying two million inhabitants with basic services and commodities;
2. To organize them into paramilitary units, teach them how to use the weapons they captured from Libyan army facilities, help them restore law and order on the streets and train them to fight Muammar Qaddafi's combat units coming to retake Cyrenaica.
3. The prepare infrastructure for the intake of additional foreign troops. Egyptian units are among those under consideration.
Qaddafi was shaken up badly Friday, Feb. 25, when many of his air force commanders decided to no longer obey his orders or those of his commanders, debkafile's exclusive military sources report. This loss deprived him at one stroke of one of the key pillars sustaining his fight for survival against the opposition since Sunday, Feb. 20. It means he is short of an essential resource for recapturing the eastern half of the country where half of Libya's oil wealth and its main oil export terminals are situated.