[picture: no hostility there]Why is Morocco closing its embassy in Venezuela? The government claims it is because the Chavez government in Caracas is "hostile" to the kingdom's "territorial integrity", i.e. supportive of POLISARIO and Algeria. And sure, it is. But that's not a new thing. There has long been a Sahrawi embassy in Caracas, the highest level of diplomatic support possible.
So what has happened to cause a rift in relations now, all of a sudden? Perhaps the government has decided on some sort of active support for POLISARIO (aid, training, scholarships), or perhaps Chavez was planning some public humiliation for Morocco that has now been avoided. Or perhaps Morocco was just planning to shut down a low-importance embassy anyway, and used the opportunity for some Sahara grandstanding? (On second thought, that doesn't sound very likely, since the embassy is moved to the Dominican Republic -- for all its virtues, hardly a regional powerhouse.)
And it gets more mysterious. Instead of parading this as a diplomatic victory, or a demonstration of its influence, POLISARIO denies that Western Sahara is the root of the problem. The Sahrawi Republic instead claims that Morocco is breaking with Venezuela due to Chavez's tough stand on Palestine, rather than Western Sahara. Chavez recently cut ties with Israel, and is wildly popular in the Arab world for his outspoken public diplomacy on the issue.
That this would be about Palestine sounds very unlikely, to me, but what do I know. Seems more likely that POLISARIO wants to exploit Arab nationalist ill-will towards the Moroccan government, after it boycotted the pro-Gaza summit in Doha. But most of all, I figure this must be an attempt to ride the Gaza media wave -- whereas a closed embassy due to the Sahara issue could easily drown in the wall-to-wall Palestine coverage in Arab media, this way, the Sahrawis hope to ensure that the news are picked up.