Tensions between the United Nations and the government of Sudan have risen to new levels, as the UN
Special Envoy to Sudan,
Jan Pronk, was expelled from the country earlier this week after statements
made in his personal blog were considered a threat to Sudanese national security.
Pronk wrote that government forces had suffered major losses in battles in the
North and that “the morale in the government army in North
Darfur has gone down. Some generals have been sacked; soldiers have
refused to fight.” The government has regarded these comments as “psychological
warfare” and ordered Pronk to leave the country. Secretary General Kofi
Annan adhered to their requests and asked Jan Pronk, a former member of the
Dutch cabinet, to go to New York
for “consultations.”

International attention on the relationship between Pronk and the Sudanese
government has deflected media and diplomatic attention away from the
escalating horrors taking place in Darfur. To
date, more than 200,000 people have died from violence, disease, and poverty
since 2003. A cease-fire signed between the government and one rebel group last
May has been largely ineffective, but the last few weeks have shown increased
military violence throughout the region. Rebel groups have declared the
cease-fire no longer in effect and have intensified both the frequency and
effectiveness of attacks on government forces recently. The Security Council’s
August resolution to send 22,500 troops to Darfur
to take over the strained African Union’s peacekeeping mission has been
rejected by the Sudanese government. Given the current situation with Pronk, it
seems increasingly unlikely that the government will accept a United Nations
force to bring peace to the region.