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 “Principled pragmatism: Europe’s place in a multipolar Middle East,” “Society max: How Europe can help Syrians survive Assad and coronavirus,” and “Guns and governance: How Europe should talk with non-state armed groups in the Middle East.” His work has been published in the likes of Foreign Policy, Politico, the Financial Times, and the New York Times.

Immediately prior to joining ECFR Barnes-Dacey headed the MENA practice at Control Risks, a private sector consultancy. Before this he worked as a journalist across the Middle East. Based in Syria from 2007 to 2010, he reported for publications including the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Christian Science Monitor. He worked across Iraq as editor of Niqash and was also based in Egypt. Barnes-Dacey was an assistant foreign editor for UK television’s Channel 4 News, and a field producer for Al Jazeera International.

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.

Making the most of Geneva II

The Geneva II conference on Syria will finally convene in Switzerland next week. Prospects for an immediate or dramatic breakthrough are decidedly bleak, yet that should not be the bar against which the merits of convening Geneva II should be measured.

Eight things to consider before intervening in Syria

Before any Western intervention in the Syrian conflict, eight key issues need to be considered – from the goals of intervention and the legal issue to the regional impact and the possibility of a diplomatic alternative

The regional struggle for Syria

Two years after the beginning of an uprising against President Bashar-al-Assad, Syria is gripped by an ever deepening civil war that is having a significant impact on the entire region.  

Syria: the view from Lebanon

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.  

Publications

Articles

Intersections of influence: IMEC and Europe’s role in a multipolar Middle East

A new trade corridor linking India to Europe via the Middle East can offer opportunities for Europeans to strengthen their geo-economic influence with the Gulf. It can also be an opportunity for de-risking, but Europe should not expect to dislodge Chinese influence

Humanitarian first: Delivering aid to Syria in the aftermath of the earthquake

In the aftermath of the earthquake, minimal aid is reaching north-west Syria, the most affected region in the country. European governments need to put humanitarian imperatives first, even if this means temporarily abandoning longstanding political positions

Unsettled: The impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on the Middle East and North Africa

Heightened conflict in Ukraine could have serious consequences for European interests in the Middle East and North Africa. It could further disrupt energy supplies, exacerbate food insecurity, and help states in the region gain leverage over the US and Europe.

New momentum? The US, Iran, and the fate of the JCPOA

The United States and Iran may finally be converging on a shared commitment to a new nuclear deal. This agreement would not be perfect, but the alternatives are far worse.

Specials

Podcasts

Events

In the media