Julien Barnes-Dacey explains which countries are driving the conflict in Syria to Nicholas Walton, in the first of two podcasts on Syria's…
Director, Middle East and North Africa programme
Areas of expertise
Middle East and North Africa
English, French, Arabic
Julien Barnes-Dacey is the director of the Middle East & North Africa programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations. He works on European policy towards the wider region, with a particular focus on Syria and regional geopolitics.
Barnes-Dacey’s recent publications include “Society max: How Europe can help Syrians survive Assad and coronavirus,” “Promoting European strategic sovereignty in the southern neighbourhood,” and “Guns and governance: How Europe should talk with non-state armed groups in the Middle East.” His work has been published widely including in Foreign Policy, Politico, the Financial Times, and the New York Times.
Barnes-Dacey has worked as a researcher and journalist across the Middle East. Based in Syria from 2007 to 2010, he reported for the Wall Street Journal and The Christian Science Monitor. He worked across Iraq as editor of Niqash.Org and was previously based in Egypt, reporting for the Cairo Times. He also headed the MENA practice at Control Risks, a private sector political consultancy based in London.
Barnes-Dacey holds a BA in history from the London School of Economics, an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and studied Arabic at the Institut Français du Proche-Orient.
Tensions in Lebanon, whose political fate has long been intimately tied to Syria, are sharpening rapidly as its neighbour sinks deeper into a sectarian civil war. But a growing number of clashes within Lebanon are now raising fears that a domestic eruption is becoming hard to avoid.
Amman has gradually escalated its anti-Assad posture, providing wider political and military support in a bid to try and prevent the emergence of a chaotic no man’s land on its border, it continues to seek a political deal to end the conflict.
A diplomatic strategy for the conflict in Syria
A rare moment of opportunity has emerged to renew diplomatic efforts to resolve the Syria conflict. The priority now must be de-escalating the level of violence and the reducing the threat of regional spill-over
The collapse of Lebanon’s government has thrust the country into a deepening political crisis. The war in Syria and recent actions by Hezbollah also suggest that internal conflict may return to Lebanon.
Jordan's elections were widely considered a success, but the country continues to face two critical challenges: dealing with overspill from the Syrian conflict, and a badly stumbling economy.
Economic challenges are fanning new tensions in Jordan
How Europe can help Lebanon to avoid a descent into chaos
As civil war engulfs Syria talk of politics and diplomacy has fallen silent. But the West should be redoubling its political and diplomatic efforts, even as it offers indirect support for the arming of the rebels in Syria.
ECFR’s policy experts examine what the Taliban takeover means for countries and regions around the world: Europe, the US, the Middle East, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, and the Sahel
To achieve greater sovereignty, Europe needs to push back against rival powers, build leverage in armed conflicts, and be more effective in supporting reform
The Trump years galvanised Europeans’ efforts to strengthen their own sovereignty; they now need to agree concrete offers they can make to the new administration
European governments should pivot to a strategy focused on protecting those societal forces that are still standing and that can help salvage a better future
National politics need to be front and centre in de-escalation efforts
Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey have so far been resilient to the spillover from Syria’s civil war, but now the region’s stability is hanging by a thread
The sixth ECFR Foreign Policy Scorecard highlights the EU’s diminishing ability to influence its neighbours, and the neighbourhood’s growing impact on the EU
An “Islamic State first” strategy, that neglects the urgent need to secure political progress and de-escalation in Syria will fail
Europe’s relationships with the six Arab Gulf states that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have failed to keep up with their increasing importance
The fifth edition of ECFR’s Foreign Policy Scorecard examines EU’s response to a year of crisis
As countries across the Middle East pause to take stock of recent conflicts, Europeans need to do more to support dialogue
A one-year extension to the current aid arrangements would be no one’s first choice – but would ensure civilians in Idlib continue to receive help
Circumventing the regime to support Syrians on the ground is difficult but Europeans need to adjust their Syria policy in favour of this effort
The US needs to swiftly re-energise diplomacy with Iran rather than be sucked into new tit-for-tat military strikes
If European governments want to salvage the deal before it is too late, while also opening up the prospect of negotiations with Iran on regional security, they need to quickly and clearly reject the argument that the two issues should be bundled together
Victory for Joe Biden is likely to bring three big policy shifts in the region, opening new possibilities and challenges for Europeans
The US will continue to retreat from the Middle East and North Africa, whoever wins the presidency. Europe needs to get its house in order to defend its interests.
Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq are all teetering on the brink of economic collapse. Europe cannot afford to be a helpless bystander.
The coronavirus has hit the Middle East and north Africa at a time when the region is already burdened with multiple problems, including a series…
A horrific humanitarian crisis is unfolding on Europe’s doorstep and Europeans are nowhere to be seen.
European governments need a deeper engagement strategy to draw these powerful actors into inclusive political processes and power-sharing structures that can help stabilise the region
The eastern Mediterranean is becoming ever more perilous as geopolitical fault lines steadily enmesh the region. These rifts emerge from the Cyprus ‘frozen conflict’, competition for valuable gas fields, and the increasingly entangled wars in Libya and Syria.
Turmoil in the Middle East and north Africa directly affects Europeans. Yet their influence in the region has never been weaker. This project maps Europe’s role across the Middle East and north Africa, making the case that Europeans can do more to leverage their influence in pursuit of core interests
An ECFR guide to the key disputes threatening to spark a wider Middle Eastern war
Does the election of Raisi represent a significant change of direction following the term of President Rouhani?
How can the EU prevent the Turkey-UAE rivalry from destabilising European security and foreign policy?
When Biden enters the White House, he will look for a Europe that brings solutions rather than problems. Europeans should show they can be an equal partner & offer him a new transatlantic bargain.
Last week’s episode saw our experts dissecting the coronavirus’ implications for Europe. In today's episode, we’re breaking down how the crisis is unfolding in the…
The European Union faces a multi-crisis situation at the moment. As the conflict in Idlib and the circumstances at the Greek-Turkish border has erupted, Europe…
With the US-killing of the Iranian military leader, Qassem Soleimani, the Middle East has been yet again sent in the heart to geopolitical uncertainty and…
Turkey's offensive into northeast Syria is moving at an unprecedented pace with grave consequences. Europe's utter irrelevance in the face of US withdrawal from the Turkish/Syrian…
This week, ECFR director Mark Leonard discusses with experts Ellie Geranmayeh and Julien Barnes-Dacey the French president Emmanuel Macron's bold initiative: Europeans are now to…