Top of the Morning: UN Week Kicks Off; Mohammad Morsi, Revealed; Combustable Situation in Benghazi

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

5 Stories to Follow During UN Week

World leaders begin their descent on New York City for the opening of the UN General Assembly. Here are five stories that will drive the agenda at the United Nations Summit this week. 1) Monday: Lakhdar Brahimi briefs the Security Council on a possible way forward in Syria. 2) Tuesday: President Obama gives his annual address in the midst of a heated election campaign. 3) Wednesday: A high level meeting on the crisis in the Sahel. 4) Thursday: The first ever meeting of the Secretary General’s high level panel charged with generating the Sustainable Development Goals after the MDGs expire. 5) All Week: Israel, Iran and the USA trade barbs.  All explained on UN Dispatch. (UN Dispatch

Mohammad Morsi, Revealed

The New York Times sits down with Mohammad Morsi for in a long interview on the eve of his first visit to the USA as president of Egypt. Things we learn: Morsi roots for the USC Trojans; finds the US restaurant chain Hooters distasteful; and probably would never vote for a woman. Here’s the actual meat of the interview. “He said it was up to Washington to repair relations with the Arab world and to revitalize the alliance with Egypt, long a cornerstone of regional stability. If Washington is asking Egypt to honor its treaty with Israel, he said, Washington should also live up to its own Camp David commitment to Palestinian self-rule. He said the United States must respect the Arab world’s history and culture, even when that conflicts with Western values. And he dismissed criticism from the White House that he did not move fast enough to condemn protesters who recently climbed over the United States Embassy wall and burned the American flag in anger over a video that mocked the Prophet Muhammad. ‘We took our time’ in responding to avoid an explosive backlash, he said, but then dealt ‘decisively’ with the small, violent element among the demonstrators.” (NYT

Combustible Situation in Benghazi as Local Militias Square off Against Central Government

A very tense situation is playing out in the Libyan city of Benghazi. “Islamist brigades in Benghazi are resisting attempts to rein them in, in a standoff that is exposing fierce divisions between the Tripoli government and the east, Chris Stephen reports. In a telephone update from Benghazi he reported that the Islamist Rafallah al-Sahati brigade remain in their base in the city and have begun arresting protesters, claiming they have the authority to do so from Tripoli. ‘They say they have begun arresting protesters who stormed their base and other militia bases on Friday night, accusing them of instigating revolt. This has caused a lot of confusion here in Benghazi, because the police are insistent that they won’t make arrests. In fact the police want to arrest the Rafallah people for the shooting of four unarmed protesters outside the base. There is a fairly combustible situation coming here. You have the Islamic brigades digging their heels in, and the protesters, now backed by the army and police, insisting that they go. And the government in Tripoli is really sitting on its hands.’ The issue is likely to come to a head later today during protests against the arrests, Chris said.” (Guardian