3. Business as usual
Obamacare. Government funding. An energy efficiency bill. Relieved of an impending vote on whether to give the president the authorization to attack Syria, Congress is moving onto other matters.
Yet, Syria continues to bubble under the surface.
"Congress will be watching these negotiations very closely," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warns. "If there is any indication they're not serious or they're being used as a ploy to delay, then Congress stands ready to return to that Syria resolution" that would authorize a military strike on Syria. Whether the votes are there to approve such a resolution is another matter.
But for now, there's a different deadline looming over Congress. No spending plan by early October and we could be looking at a government shutdown.
4. Pointing fingers
Finger pointing is a popular pastime when the topic is Syria. The government blames the rebels. The rebels blame the government. The United Nations blames both.
A U.N. report, released Wednesday, asserts that both sides have committed grave crimes in violation of international law.
The U.N. Human Rights Council says government forces are committing crimes against humanity by attacking civilian populations. War crimes like murder, torture and hostage-taking are the charges assigned to the opposition.
"There is no military solution to this conflict," the report says. "Those who supply arms create but an illusion of victory."
Denials are likely from both sides. More likely from each? More finger pointing.
5. It's Putin's turn
Obama got his say Tuesday. Wednesday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin took a stab at winning friends and influencing people in a piece published on the New York Times.
In the op-ed, Putin says it's time "to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders." He challenges Obama across the board.
Putin says striking Syria would kill innocent people, spread violence across the region and cloud other Middle East peace efforts. It would also "unleash a new wave of terrorism." Skip the United Nations and go it alone, that "would constitute an act of aggression."
The sarin gas attack? That's in there too.
While Obama squarely puts the blame for the alleged sarin gas attack on the Assad regime, Putin writes "There is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian army, but by opposition forces to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists."
Not a lot of middle ground as talks start in Geneva.
Democratic Senator Robert Menendez said the piece made him almost want to throw up.
But wait, there's more! Putin ended with a swipe at Obama.