Abdullah's Game

Steve Coll's read on the situation in Afghanistan:

[Abdullah] has long sought constitutional reforms to strengthen parliament over the presidency. He is almost certainly interested in rejoining the government, with some of his allies, if the deal is attractive enough. He retains ambitions and wishes to remain a viable national figure in a post-Karzai Afghanistan. He will be in a stronger position to negotiate toward all of these goals by adopting the posture he announced yesterday than he would have been if he had participated in the runoff and been defeated. Rather than a confirmed election loser, Abdullah now presents himself to the international community and the Karzai government as a problem to be solveda responsible, reasonable problem, open to constructive negotiations that will address his interests and concerns.