Assad officials will be smiling tonight at what they'll see as signs of weakness and hesitation from Obama.
To them this delay is proof of doubts in public opinion over Western military action in Syria.
Syrian government officials were watching President Obama's White House speech. I didn't see them smile but there's no doubt they did.
Footage has emerged which appears to show an horrific incident incendiary weapons in northern Syria near a school.
After last week's clouds of poison gases in the suburbs, people in Damascus are bracing themselves for the expected missile retaliation.