This article takes a critical stand towards primordialist interpretations of identity conflicts in the Arab world. It argues that identity?framed conflicts have usually coincided with differential access to wealth, power or status of the groups in conflict. This has been the case in the bloodiest inter?group conflicts in Arab countries, namely those in Sudan, Iraq and Lebanon. It also argues that political divisions based on ideology or religion have often been more important than ethnic or racial differences ? as in the Algerian civil war, the recent confrontation between government and opposition supporters and conflict between FATAH and HAMAS in Palestine. These conflicts had important implications for human, as well as national, regional and international security.