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.

Does Jordan’s election change anything?

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.  

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.  

Publications

Articles

Ceasefire and beyond: Advancing a post-conflict plan for Gaza

As the devastation mounts in Gaza, European leaders need to call for a ceasefire and a broader diplomatic track to secure urgent humanitarian objectives, before turning to a realistic post-conflict plan that can address security needs for Israelis and Palestinians

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

Specials

Podcasts

Events

In the media