Experts & Staff

Julien Barnes-Dacey

Director, Middle East and North Africa programme

Areas of expertise

Middle East and North Africa

Languages

English, French, Arabic

Biography

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.

Don’t give up on politics in Syria

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.  

On Assad’s Doorstep

The eyes of the world are on Syria's bloody villages. But now the revolution is finally coming to the once quiet, now tense streets of inner Damascus.  

Damascus on the brink

Julien Barnes-Dacey has just returned from a visit to Syria, and returned deeply pessimistic about the situation on the ground, with hopes for a political solution appearing all but dead.  

Europe struggling to play meaningful role in Syria crisis

The case of Syria shows that Europe maintains a limited ability to shape its Southern neighbourhood. For the time being it remains a fairly insignificant political actor in the unfolding Syrian crisis.  

Syria’s rebels will have to deal with Assad

No one wants to deal with dictators. But one year after the Syrian uprising began, the harsh truth is that Bashar al-Assad maintains the upper hand and the opposition – with its international backers – may have little choice but to cut a deal with him if they want to ease the Syrian people’s suffering.  

Jordan – no longer boring?

For so long a reliably boring country in the middle of a tumultuous region, there are signs that Jordan may soon become lively as demands for political reform and the wider impact of the Arab Awakening begin to reach Amman.  

Publications

Articles

Children sit on top of a destroyed building in Gaza

Cooling-off: How Europe can help stabilise the Middle East

As countries across the Middle East pause to take stock of recent conflicts, Europeans need to do more to support dialogue

The narrow path to agreement: How Europe should support the Iran nuclear deal

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

Specials

Podcasts

In the media