(NEWSER– Congress is decidedly skittish about the prospect of military action against Syria—sources tellPolitico's Playbook that if the vote were held today, it would fail—and the reason why has a lot to do with the thought of potentially bolstering men like Abdul Samad Issa, aka "The Uncle." Issa leads a small faction of about 300 rebels, and while it's not al-Qaeda-affiliated, it's uncomfortably ruthless—one former aide gave the New York Times a video of the group executing seven naked and beaten Syrian soldiers, who had been accused of raping civilians. The Uncle has promised his men "the extermination" of the entire Alawite sect Bashar al-Assad belongs to.

  • The would-be non-war is also unpopular. "The word from members is that no one back home supports intervention. Calls and letters are opposed in overwhelming numbers," one source tells Playbook.
  • On the other hand, there's the horror of Syria's chemical attack. A new study indicates that the rockets used in the alleged Damascus strike carried up to 50 times more nerve gas than previously estimated, the Times reports. That indicates that the material must have come from a large gas stockpile.

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