The slow pace of posting is likely to continue, but comments are always welcome in the meanwhile. Here's some catch-up.
Arab diplomacy: It's Gaza, Gaza, Gaza. On the fringes of that, Gen. Mohamed ould Abdelaziz, the Mauritanian junta leader, attended a special Arab League summit on the crisis in Doha. This marked a PR victory for the junta, since many/most Arab states have been reluctant to recognize the legitimacy of the coup. Also, the junta has upped its "Arab" standing by suspending relations with Israel (which it recognized in 1999) in protest over Gaza, after first recalling its ambassador. That's a very popular move domestically, and it carries less cost than it used to, now that Western donor nations have broken with Nouakchott since the coup. It was Western pressure that initiated and maintained the relationship with Israel, and if Western nations aren't going to be of any help anyway, Gen. Abdelaziz faces no penalty for catering to his domestic constituency.
Among the other Maghreb states, Algerian Pres. Bouteflika went in person, and apparently exchanged greetings with Gen. Abdelaziz -- without Algeria signalling any relaxation of its opposition to the coup. Libya and Morocco instead announced they would send only their foreign ministers. In Morocco's case, it seems even this didn't hold up, and that Morocco abstained completely from the summit, in deference to sugar daddy. As for the motivations of the Brother Leader for not going himself -- who the hell knows.
Western Sahara: Some Moroccan newspapers are claiming that POLISARIO Sec.-Gen. Mohamed Abdelaziz suffers from cancer, and will be replaced by Mohamed Lamine ould el-Bouhali, the current SADR minister of defense. Apparently, all the papers are using the exact same source, and there's no evidence whatsoever to back this up, so I wouldn't put much faith in it. Also, Abdelaziz is still pretty young (well, early sixties) despite leading POLISARIO for over 30 years, and he hasn't shown any obvious signs of being ill. So unless something more credible pops up, I'm going to go ahead and call this psyop spin.
Oh, and Christopher Ross, the UN envoy and successor to van Walsum, has finally been approved. Moroccan objections were holding him up, for whatever reason. Officially, Morocco indicated that it wanted negotiations to be based on the autonomy plan, but that never seemed likely. It could just have been an attempt to play hardball, so Western nations do not get the idea that Morocco is ready for more compromise; also, it's worth bearing in mind that Morocco is rather comfortable with the status quo, and would rather extend it than enter unknown diplomatic territory.
Algerian-Moroccan relations: I posted on the border issue here, including some apparently uninformed lines on border closure & economy, and was duly molested in comments by The Lounsbury. More on his blog, which is always worth listening to on Maghreb issues (and for sheer enjoyment).
Gas: Algeria and Spain recently finished a second gas pipeline project. Unlike the older one, this pipeline goes across the Mediterranean, without passing Moroccan territory. Also in gas news, the Russian-Ukranian spat of course heightens European interest in Algerian gas, although it's not as if the two suppliers are exchangeable: not only are Algeria's export volumes much smaller, they also go to southern European states that generally do not import from Russia, with limited possibilities of filling the gap left by Gazprom. Kal has some thoughts on Algerian-Russian relations in this context.