Blood & Oil

Blood & Oil

Is the Bush Administration using the wrong model for quelling this violence?

Filmmaker Marty Callaghan thought it was time that a film provide more detail on the expansive and complex theater of operations that took place in the Middle East during WWI, which still influences the hatred and violence seen today.

Blood and Oil - The Middle East in World War I examines the devastating conflict and Western political intrigue that laid the foundation for wars, coups, revolts and military interventions in the Middle East. The effects on the Arab world have lasted for more then 85 years, and were mentioned by Osama bin Laden in his video message to the world shortly after 9/11.

Producer Callaghan has this to say about the U.S. Defense Department's handling of the war in Iraq:
"I have been concerned about the Defense Department's use of a false model in dealing with the Middle East, a model that was forged by Western imperialism 90 years ago (Sykes-Picot). For example, as long as the U.S. sees the border of Iraq as a valid demarcation, rather than working to "deconstruct" Sykes-Picot, it will continue to face problems with Shia, Sunni and Kurdish groups."

In past films of the Great War, primary Middle Eastern battles portrayed were the Gallipoli campaign - and the exploits of T.E. Lawrence in the Arab Revolt. Over the years, filmmakers from America, England and France have been politically cautious not to provide complex details, but Callaghan names names and gives finite details on war operations in the Middle East, ranging from the Dardanelles Straits to the oil fields in Baku, on the Caspian Sea.

The battles documented - military and political - feature numerous, intriguing key players, and details of how France and Great Britain dominated the Middle East, dictated borders and created new nations - driven by greed for land and oil. Without much regard for the regions history, culture, religion and ethnicity, artificial states emerged: Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. These 'nations' secured the interests of France and Great Britain, but not the interests of the Muslim inhabitants: Sunnis, Shias, Arabs and a host of others.

Callaghan's close study of this conflict provides two important lessons:

1. The Treaty of Versailles, agreed to by the Western Powers in 1919, paved the way for military and political chaos in the Middle East, which continues to this very day.

2. Oil reserves in the Middle East became an important strategic concern for Western Powers, helping to justify their economic, diplomatic and military interference in the region.

Written and produced by Marty Callaghan (Archives of War, Remember Pearl Harbor: America Taken by Surprise), and distributed by Inecom Entertainment, this feature-length documentary film follows conflict from the Ottoman Empire's entry into the Great War in October 1914 to the Allied victory and declaration of the new Turkish Republic in 1923, and the hostilities that have plagued the region since. The 112-minute DVD also features extended expert commentary. Worldwide release, Tuesday, Dec. 5th.


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