"What they are doing is to go for broader level of support because of political considerations, because of the need to build consensus, because of the need to isolate the insurgency from the Sunni population." Khalilzad
Congratulations, Mr. Ambassador!!
It has been clear from the very beginning of the armed uprising in Iraq that the largely (but not altogether) Sunni Arab revolt could not exist, grow and continue to operate without some level of popular support.
A very simple and basic principle of insurgent warfare is that guerrillas have to have food, shelter, money, weapons, intelligence and a population which accepts their presence and does not report them to the security forces. That support or cooperation can be freely given, coerced, or some combination of the two.
The Bush Administration and the senior leadership of the US Armed forces has maintained throughout the war that the insurgents are:
-Baathist holdouts and "deadenders" who are not more than a handful and who are without popular support.
-Foreign and domestic mercenaries (often criminal) who are also without popular support.
-Iraqi Islamists (a handful) who have no popular support.
-Foreign Islamists smuggled in primarily from Syria (no support).
Right up until yesterday the egregious (but handsome) Dan Bartlett, White House Communications Director, was saying on the tube that those who are fighting the "progress of Democracy" in Iraq are a "tiny, indeed miniscule" percentage of the "Iraqi people."
In this context, the clear headed realism of Ambassador Khalilzad in telling Gwen Ifill of the Newshour that the new constitution must receive a lot of Sunni Arab support in order to "isolate the insurgency from the Sunni population" is highly significant.
What this tells us is that Khalilzad, and therefor probably the Bush Administration, has a much clearer understanding of the structure and numbers of the insurgencies than we had been led to believe.