The dusty stairs and grime-coated walls wind seven stories over the plush Kuwait Airlines offices on Omar Muktar street to the Fatah and Palestine Liberation Organization offices.

The stairs lead past posters acclaiming the Palestinian cause to an island in a decades-old archipelago of violence and frustration.

The PLO and Fatah offices are a curious symbol of Col. Muammar Qaddafi's support for the Palestinians. While the Palestinian flag waves boldly from a pole atop the building, the elevator is broken and the air conditioning is out.

Western analysts here say Qaddafi's support for the Palestinians is exaggerated.

"Qaddafi really hasn't done a large amount in actual practice," said one, adding, "People like [PLO leader Yasser] Arafat don't get an awful lot out of here."

Abu Tareq, head of the PLO and Fatah offices here, offered a different version.

"Here we feel as if we are in Palestine; we don't have any obstacles in our work, our relations, or with assistance," Abu Tareq said, sipping Turkish coffee on a hotel terrace overlooking the Mediteranean.

Pressed for details, Abu Tareq - a nom de guerre - said, "We get the assistance we need, whether it is financial, or arms."

Close to many of Libya's leaders, Abu Tareq is a regular on the diplomatic circuit and has easy access to Col. Qaddafi and his top lieutenant, Maj. Abdul Salaam Jalloud.

There are an estimated 10,000 Palestinians in Libya. And Qaddafi, in an order that did not go down well in every quarter of their tanks, has ordered all eligible Palestinians to undergo military training.

"It is no secret here - we are preparing our people to fight," Abu Tareq said.Once trained, the separate Palestinian units will be ready, "if the revolution needs them," he said.

Analysts, however, suspect Qaddafi's Palestinian brigades may be seconded for other needs - including Tripoli with added defense troops against a possible Egyptian attach across Libya's eastern border.

While the details are murky, analysts say that there are blind spots in Qaddafi's unequivocal shows of public support for the Palestinians.

Despite his outspoken opposition to the Camp David accords, Qaddafi has repeatedly offered through diplomatic channels to arrange a meeting between U.S. officials and the PLO.

Qaddafi also appears to have reined in some of his largesse. There is carping that his dole to the Palestinians is too small and the payments too infrequent.

"Five million dollars may be a lot for some of these people, but it just isn't that much for the PLO," said one analyst.

Regardless of the amounts, however, there is no question here that Qaddafi intends to continue providing financial backing, arms and military training to the Palestinians.