Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Abraham's Oasis

Abraham's Oasis

In between the cities of Hit and Haditha in Al Anbar province is Abraham's Oasis. The oasis is considered a holy site and importance ties into Jewish, Samaritan, Christian, and Islamic history.

First, a little geography. The oasis is about six miles (ten kilometers) away from the Euphrates River. At this point on, the more northwest one goes along the river the deeper it sinks into cliff sides, making side stops difficult. The whole western portion of Iraq is desert making any access to a rest area with water extremely valuable. Finally, the oasis is last oasis of any importance until well after the Syrian border.

All these factors lead locals to claim Abraham visited the Oasis during his divinely inspired mission to the Holy Land. Despite the fact neither the Bible or Qu'ran mention any stops, if the oasis in existence he would have most likely stopped there (map of possible journey route).

The oasis is located near Al Asad Airbase. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Australian soliders found the oasis full of Iraqi military trash. Locals were uninterested in visiting it or cleaning it up. In 2006 the United States Marine Corps ordered the oasis cleaned up. Today the oasis is guarded by the Iraqi Army. Americans or other foriegners must be guided by a chaplin when visiting the oasis (there are no athesits in foxholes and apparently no seperation of Church and State either).

The oasis is a calming place. One can close their eyes and think about Abraham and his family getting ready for the push into the desert.


Dan tdaxp said...

This is a beautiful post. Do you have any other photos that you can share?

Purpleslog said...

I'd like to see more photos as well. Or dump them on FLickr or something.

Anonymous said...

I just visited the Oasis today (19 July 2011) and it didn't look like that. All the tall grasses and cat tails were gone. There was quite a lot of trash surrounding the area. Not very impressive.

Anonymous said...

LTC Turner

I just visited it this morning with the Chaplain from the 40th MP Bn. The Iraqis have allowed trash to gather there again. There are scattered ruins of the village destroyed by Saddam so that he could make Al Asad Airbase. In the ruins the MPs have found a mass grave where Saddam had the remaining villagers killed and buried in the rubble. Among the unique look of trees and water in such a desolate desert ... I am reminded about the human tragedy that has been visited on this land for centuries. 30 Oct 2011

Catholicgauze said...

LTC Turner,
That's horrible! Do you have any photos to share of the sad state the oasis is in now?