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Blood And Oil: The Middle East In World War I

4.3 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Delves deeper into the conflict and provides viewers with background on how the Middle East became the fractious, violent region it is today. --Cheryl Cheng, Video Business

s Islamic extremism an outcropping of a botched World War I endgame? Blood and Oil The Middle East in World War I methodically recounts how Britain and France carved up the Middle East to suit their political and economic needs and traces the aftermath of these decisions including how resentment toward Europe s policies helped foster Muslim nationalism and, eventually, extremism. --John Latchem, Home Media Retailing

A thorough documentary. Gives you the sense of how long the West has been fighting in the Middle East. --Joshua Berlow, The Cynicism of Diogenes

About the Actor

Marty CallaghanÂ’s credits include Pearl Harbor: America Taken by Surprise, the Archives of War series and The 20th Century: A Moving Visual History. He played a key role in publishing Tom ClancyÂ’s first novel, The Hunt for Red October and his writings have been published in various magazines, such as Naval History, Sailing and the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings. Callaghan's work has been recognized by the International Documentary Association in Los Angeles.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: -
  • Directors: Marty Callaghan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Janson Media
  • DVD Release Date: March 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003BNCMUE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,528 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you want to understand what the United States is up against in the Middle East, watch "Blood and Oil." The primary reason U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 has been wholly ineffective is the administration's ignorance of history and other cultures. The "war on terror" has repeatedly been likened to World War Two and the Cold War -- analogies that don't hold up. However, the real antecedents lie in World War One. In the West's last gasp of colonialism, Britain and France apportioned this region between themselves, creating the artifice we now call the Middle East. Since that time, Arabs (and Persians) have chaffed under this unwanted arrangement. Much of the volatility in that region today has grown directly out of the accords made during and immediately after World War One.

Marty Callaghan is among the first to provide a much overdue perspective of the real historical forces we're dealing with today. "Blood and Oil" is a good primer on the interactions of the Western powers with the Arabs and Ottoman Turks during the war and the long-term ramifications of these actions. Until American policy makers understand these historical dynamics, we will be doomed to continued inept foreign policy -- like going on a roadtrip and using the wrong map.

Other resources I would recommend:

- PBS's "The Road to 9/11": provides an overview of the political forces that have shaped the Middle East during the 20th century

- PBS's "Lawrence of Arabia: The Battle for the Arab World": recounts T.E. Lawrence's work as Britain's pointman in cultivating Arab help in World War I in exchange for promises of Arab independence

- Jonathan Lewis' "The First World War -- The Complete Series": superbly made documentary series on all facets of WWI, including one episode on "Jihad"

- World War I: The "Great War": a college-level course taught by Prof Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, available on DVD through The Teaching Company
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"Blood and Oil" is an eye-opener and, as such, a documentary which should be viewed by every American (and I would even say by every Westerner) and, more crucially, by everyone in our political system who is involved - directly or indirectly - in making decisions regarding Iraq and our mostly unenlightened policy in the Middle-East.

In this riveting and carefully researched video, Marty Callaghan shows us how, in the aftermath of World War I (which most Westerners think ended in 1918 - when strife persisted for several more years in the Middle-East) agreements were made, mostly between between France and Britain, which resulted in the carving of the old Ottoman Empire into artificial nations - Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Syria - which have remained hotbeds of political and military mayhem ever since. Oil was the black gold that motivated, and still motivates the West to constantly interfere in the Middle East, without taking into account its widely diverse population, without seeking to understand the complexity of its many cultures and ethnic composition. It is so much easier to lump all of its people as "Moslems" or "Arabs" - terms which, nowadays, are often, and very sadly, equated in the minds of many Westerners with a propensity for terrorism.

You do not need to have any background in history to enjoy and fully understand this documentary, which conveys complex events and intricate political dealings with great clarity and in a very compelling fashion. Some of the historical footage Callaghan dug up is very cool, as is the original soundtrack by Michael Goodis.
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Format: DVD
"Blood and Oil" reveals the energy politics that guided the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East and Caucasus. The film, perhaps controversially, uncovers how Russia, Great Britain and France exploited ethnic and religious differences to fuel revolts against the Ottoman Empire, so that the West could dominate certain petroleum-rich areas, from Baku in Azerbaijan to Mosul and Kirkuk in Iraq. One track followed very closely in the film is that of the Russians (from the east) and French (from the south) instigating the Armenian Revolt, 1885-1920, that killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims, mostly Kurds, in eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus, the Ottoman response to which brought terrible suffering upon the Armenians. The film also delves into the British-engineered Arab revolts from the Sinai, to Palestine, to Baghdad. "Blood and Oil" draws acute parallels between the British invasion of the Middle East in WWI and the present US occupation of Iraq, both of which seemed designed to redraw the region's borders under the guise of self-determination and human rights, but of course in line with energy objectives of the West. The ethnic and religious feuds of one hundred years ago still haunt the region today, raising the question whether the War to End All Wars actually created a peace to end all peace, as David Fromkin argues in the documentary.
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I'm always suspicious of a DVD documentary which, upon purchase, causes Amazon to start recommending to me crap like 9/11 conspiracies, oil companies controlling governments, and all sorts of wildly extravagant conspiracy theories that range from aggrandizing the trivial to simply making stuff up.

Ignore all that if it's happened to you; the only controversy this disc could ignite would be the careful avoidance, or potentially total ignoring of the Armenian Genocide from 1915-1917, said to be the inspiration for Adolph Hitler's Final Solution.

The documentary starts very much within 1914, and focuses on the "forgotten war" in World War I, that of the Ottoman Empire versus seemingly everyone else. Every major campaign from the failed Ottoman incursion into the Caucasus, the failed Ottoman incursion across the Suez Canal, to the political, military, and social developments throughout the war, from Winston Churchill's scapegoating for the disaster of Gallipoli, the taking of Baghdad, the massively successful push by Edmund Allenby past Gaza, and into Palestine and Jerusalem, and T.E. Lawrence's role in the Arab revolt.

The first 2/3s of the documentary, being almost wholly devoted to the Ottoman Empire and it's pisspoor management under the Three Pashas, and in-depth military coverage, strategies, movement, etcetera, followed by the seemingly heroic actions of General Mustafa Kemal in resisting the Allied attempt at stealing Turkish lands, and forcibly forming the Republic of Turkey.

These events prove to be highly significant to the last portion, which covers just how these events were directly responsible for causing the issue of the Western World intruding in the Arab World, and the introduction of Israel into the mix.
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