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(CNN) – President Obama announced Thursday that up to 300 military advisers will be sent to Iraq to help the embattled government hold off a lightning advance from the north by Sunni militants.
But what can these advisers do to cut off what some call the beginning of a civil war?
At the more senior levels, advisers will be working on "operational level things, such as logistics, intelligence, fire support coordination," says Retired General Anthony Zinni, former commander of U.S. Central Command.
"They would also be a conduit for any support that we might have to bring in and coordinate," said Zinni.
For more of our interview with Gen. Anthony Zinni (Ret.), check out the video above.