New Leaders from Egypt, Libya, Somalia at UN General Annual Meeting

The Council on Foreign Relations writes that this year’s meeting will be notable for the inclusion of new leaders representing Libya, Egypt and Somalia—in particular, the attendance of Mohammed Morsi:

When it is Morsi’s turn at the podium in the General Assembly on Wednesday, he is likely to run through a litany of issues that are fairly standard for Egyptian foreign policy—the Nile waters and Africa, Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East, regional stability, and Arab and Muslim solidarity…Morsi will also likely repeat his call for Bashar al Assad to step down. Calling Assad out at the world forum has three benefits for the Egyptian president. In addition to being the morally right thing to do, it places the Brothers and him on the side of revolutionary movements in the Arab world and demonstrates that Egypt intends to be a regional player once again.

CFR also opens the door for Morsi to signal a strategic shift in Egypt-U.S. relations, as they pertain to management of the Israel-Palestinian dispute:

In an important twist, Morsi may well serve notice to the United States that he is turning over the trilateral logic of U.S.-Egypt relations in which Washington has tended to evaluate its ties with Egypt through Cairo’s ties with Jerusalem. Morsi seems intent on changing this state of affairs and his speech to the UN provides a good opportunity to alter the prevailing dynamics of U.S.-Egypt relations, telling the world body—perhaps not in so many words—that the quality of Egypt’s relationship with the United States will hereafter be based in part on Washington’s willingness to work toward a solution to the Palestinian problem, which means leaning on Jerusalem.

Indeed, Morsi met with the New York Times ahead of the assembly, to convey his expectations of U.S. leadership:

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.

A Washington Post photo of  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accompanied his attack on the Israel-U.S. relationship, calling for a change in the veto power of the U.S., China, Russia, the UK and France.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is taking aim at the United States and Israel at a high-level U.N. meeting, accusing Washington of shielding what he calls a nuclear-armed “fake regime.”