He didn’t have much to lose — he’s already an enemy of Allah. Possible outcomes:

1. Civil war.
2. Hamas boycotts the election; newly elected government deemed illegitimate.
3. Hamas forms an alternative Palestinian Authority in Damascus; newly elected government deemed illegitimate.
4. Combination of 2 and 3; newly elected government deemed illegitimate.
5. Hamas participates in the election and wins; Abbas’s authority, peace process crushed.
6. Hamas participates in the election and loses.

The only “good” option is the last one and even there the newly elected government would be of dubious legitimacy. It’s not clear that Abbas has the power to call new elections in the first place, and if Fatah wins, they’d be seen as a western puppet whose victory was bought by the promise of renewed U.S./EU financial aid. Israel’s staying out of it but Fatah is begging them to make some sort of diplomatic concession to Abbas to bolster his authority. Mohammed Dahlan, one of his right-hand men, wants them to release convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti from prison so that he can come home and lead a Fatah “dream team” of candidates. Beyond parody.

Tony Blair’s doing a swing through the Middle East right now in support of Abbas. Which brings us to our must-read of the day, right over here at Little Green Footballs.