The United States isn't leaving anything to chance.
While it pursues a diplomatic solution to the Syria crisis by sending U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with his Russian counterpart in Geneva on Thursday, it has also started arming the rebels. The rebels, though, say the arms have yet to reach them.
Meanwhile, a Vladimir Putin-penned editorial in the New York Times has at least one White House official saying it's an indication the Russian President is "now fully invested in Syria's chemical disarmament." And a U.N. report says that both sides -- the regime and the rebels -- have committed war crimes in the bloody two-year-long civil war in Syria.
Here are the five things to pay attention to today.
1. Give peace a chance
As the diplomatic focus shifts to Geneva, the talks get down to the nuts and bolts of how to identify, verify and ultimately destroy the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian regime, a senior State Department official told CNN. Expect the sessions to last two -- possibly three -- days. A final deal may take much longer.
Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have talked nine times since the August 21 chemical weapons attack. U.S., British and French diplomats also are hashing over the similar matters in New York.
These are complicated matters with competing interests. Expect any final deal to go to the U.N. Security Council to be put into a formal resolution.
And to add to the intrigue, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says the U.N. report on last month's attack will "probably" be published Monday. And there will "certainly be indications" pointing the origin of the attack towards the Assad regime, he said in a radio interview Thursday.
Looming over the talks is the military strike card that President Barack Obama continues to hold. He asked Congress this week to put the authorization on hold, but the card isn't going back in the deck just yet.
"This is the way that diplomacy works," said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright , who was America's top diplomat in the Clinton administration. "You use the threat of the use of force to get some action in diplomacy, and then diplomacy just to figure out what you do about the threat of the use of force."
Still, it doesn't give the White House a lot of wiggle room.
"If diplomacy fails, he's painted himself into a corner," Democratic Sen. Lindsey Graham says. "The leader of the free world can't say all these things at the end of the day and do nothing."
2. Rebels get their guns
These things don't happen quickly. It was back in June that officials familiar with the matter told CNN the United States planned to send small arms, ammunition and potentially anti-tank weapons to Syria's rebels. Concerns over just who the White House could trust kept the process on the slow track. But no more.
Funded and organized by the CIA, the weapons begain getting to moderate Syrian rebels two weeks ago, a U.S. official tells CNN.
"A coordinated effort is being made among the many supporters of the moderate opposition to get them the assistance they need," Kerry said during a Google+ Hangout discussion this week.
Not so, the opposition groups said Thursday. The Syrian National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army deny they have received weapons.
"We have some promises from the U.S. administration of shipment of weapons in a short period of time, but until now we have not received any," said Free Syrian Army Political and Media Coordinator Louay al-Mokdad.
We're waiting to see what the White House has to say about that.
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.