While it has dominated headlines, the expulsion of Jan Pronk, the UN special envoy there, is just a sideshow. He would have been leaving his post at the end of the year in any case.

The great challenge for the UN is to muster the political will to stop the genocide in Darfur. The expulsion reveals the crude cynicism of the National Islamic Front regime in Sudan, a gang that has been murdering, raping, and uprooting hundreds of thousands of villagers in Darfur.

Pronk, in fact, has favoured the regime’s proposal to beef up the current ineffective African Union force of 7,500 monitors in Darfur rather than implement a Security Council resolution calling for a UN peacekeeping force of 22,000. Sudan’s military brass accused Pronk of waging “psychological war against the Sudanese army” and declared him “persona non grata.” There must now be a willingness to send a robust UN force to Sudan - even without the consent of the regime. To avoid an unprecedented confrontation, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan should ask the Arab League to prevail on Sudan to accept the UN mission. But if the League refuses or Sudan refuses the League’s entreaties, the Security Council should act to save the lives of Darfur’s two million internal refugees. The choice is stark: to end genocide, or let it continue. — The Boston Globe