The Evening: Damascus Airstrike, Erdogan Setback, Domino, and More

Air Strike in Damascus

An airstrike near Iran’s embassy in Damascus killed a senior Iranian commander and several Iranian diplomats on Monday, according to Iranian state media, which said it was an Israeli attack. The strike killed Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as The Washington Postreports.

Erdogan Setback

Turkey’s main opposition party kept control of the country’s largest cities and rose to power in others while clinching a surprise victory in local elections that represent a rebuke to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reflecting discontent with the country’s turbulent economy, as the WSJreports.

Bird Flu Infection

At least one person in Texas has been diagnosed with bird flu after having contact with dairy cows presumed to be infected. The announcement adds a worrying dimension to an outbreak that has affected millions of birds and sea mammals worldwide and, most recently, cows in the United States. The patient’s primary symptom was conjunctivitis; the individual is being treated with an antiviral drug and is recovering, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the NYTreports.

Executive Education

Looking to unpack the defense priorities of FY25 without needing to decrypt complicated jargon and dig through lengthy reports? Join CSIS experts on April 16 for Inside DOD’s FY 2025 Budget to explore the most important strategic priorities, acquisition program changes, and major budget movements for your organization. Register here by April 2.

Audio Briefs

CSIS experts give short, spoken-word summaries on the biggest takeaways from their latest reports, white papers, and commentaries—in their own words.

Listen here: "U.S.-China Scholarly Recoupling: Advancing Mutual Understanding in an Era of Intense Rivalry" with CSIS's Scott Kennedy.

In That Number

37.7 percent

Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party, won Turkey's local elections with 37.7 percent of the vote, striking a blow to President Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party.
Source: The Washington Post

Critical Quote

Unfortunately, we didn’t get the desired results from these local elections…Democracy is the winner of this election.

— Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

iDeas Lab

Photo: Copyright © 2024 by Maxar Technologies

Photo: Copyright © 2024 by Maxar Technologies

The China Coast Guard (CCG) remains the dominant state actor in disputed waters of the South China Sea. Satellite imagery of Thitu Island from March 20, 2023, confirmed an ongoing CCG presence, with a Zhaojun-class (Type 718B) CCG cutter stationed in the area. Read the latest CSIS analysis here.

The Andreas C. Dracopoulos iDeas Lab at CSIS enhances our research with the latest in cutting-edge web technologies, design, and multimedia.


Photo: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images

Emergency personnel extinguish a fire at the site of strikes that hit a building next to the Iranian embassy in Syria's capital, Damascus, on April 1, 2024.

Recommended Reading

U.S.-China Scholarly Recoupling: Advancing Mutual Understanding in an Era of Intense Rivalry” by CSIS's Scott Kennedy.

This Town Tomorrow

At 10:00 a.m., CSIS hosts a press briefing to discuss the upcoming state visit of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the trilateral summit between Japan, the Philippines, and the United States.

Then, at 10:30 a.m., the Atlantic Council examines China’s strategy to address U.S. and broader G7 sanctions in the event of a Taiwan crisis.

Later, at 2:00 p.m., Brookings discusses the nuclear policy challenges facing the next presidential administration.


Today, the CSIS Australia Chair welcomed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield for a conversation on U.S. engagement in the Pacific Islands. Watch the full video here.


Photo: CSIS

In the latest episode, CSIS's Gregory C. Allen and Brielle Hill unpack the March G7's Digital and Tech Ministerial meetings, the new TikTok bill, and more

Listen on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.


I’ve been listening to a lot of Van Morrison lately. His classic music is timeless and, at 78, he continues to record new material with a well-preserved voice. This week we’ll dive into some old and new Van, but let’s start with one of his standards.