- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.
As predicted (at the end of the post) in this blog on Friday, old Abdullah Abdullah is threatening to pull out of the Afghan run-up.
Here is a comment from my friend Mac McCallister, who has spent a lot of time on the ground in dangerous places recent years:
My prediction… He won’t [pull out]… He is only maneuvering for a better deal… more access to spoils.
We have helped create this situation… and may actually still be manipulating the process. We have weakened Karzai by calling him out… (blood in the water). We have strengthened Abdullah Abdullah with hagiographic fawning in the popular press… Karzai needs us more than ever becasue we have explained in no uncertain terms that we can always change horses.
Abdullah Abdullah’s faction is now taking advantage of the situation to gain at the expense of his rival… "Never let a good crisis go to waste"… Abdullah Abdulah can not allow this power play to get out of control… and he will therefore manage the "crisis" accordingly. He can’t rule A-stan and he knows it.. Abdullah Abdullah now needs us more than ever..
Win-win for the U.S. My compliments to Sec of State Mrs Clinton and her strategists.
The Pashtun Karzai is still the front-man in this charade… In the meantime all will send delegates to Abdullah Abdullah to talk him off the ledge… The negotiations to keep Abdullah Abdullah in the game will be interpreted by all that Abdullah Abdullah has both credibility and legitimacy. In the end.. Abdullah Abdullah’s faction will be offered a greater share of the spoils… Karzai will be President… and the government will continue to frustrate the hell out of us.
Or maybe not…