Lake Habbaniyah

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Lake Habbaniyah
Coordinates 33°17′43″N 43°27′10″E / 33.29528°N 43.45278°E / 33.29528; 43.45278Coordinates: 33°17′43″N 43°27′10″E / 33.29528°N 43.45278°E / 33.29528; 43.45278
Basin countries Iraq
Surface area 140 km²
US Army helicopter over Lake Habbaniyah

Lake Habbaniyah (Arabic: بحيرة الحبانيةBuhayrat al-Habbaniyah) is a shallow natural lake in al-Anbar, Iraq, west of Baghdad. It has a surface area 140 km². Traditionally the lake has been used to hold flood water from the River Euphrates, and in 1956 a barrage was constructed at Ramadi for this purpose. The lake was also used for recreational purposes.

In the late 1930s and 1940s Lake Habbaniyah was used by Imperial Airways as a refueling point and hotel for flying boats flying from the United Kingdom to India. Nearby on the banks of the Euphrates had already been established the Royal Air Force airbase of RAF Dhibban, later renamed RAF Habbaniya.

Lake Habbaniya Sailing Club, 1954

It was the scene of action during the Rashid Ali rebellion Anglo-Iraqi War when the RAF trainee aircrew and troops stationed there effectively saw off the besieging Iraqi troops and subsequent German aerial attacks.

Habbaniya was also the site of a major United States military base known as Al Taqqadum. This military base is across the flood relief canal, up on the plateau where the RAF built an additional airfield in 1953. Habbaniya itself remains a military base and was responsible for the training of the new Sunni 5,000 which is a drive by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense to incorporate Sunni Iraqis into the military to make it more representative. The base had its first graduation of recruits in May 2006.

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