Over the course of the 20th century, most of these struggles developed under a sectarian, ethnic or regional banner, despite their economic roots. Notwithstanding this, most analyses in the nascent Arab states have ignored the intersection between economics and religion, for various reasons.
The first of the reasons for this is, of course, the encroachment of socialist thinking which came to the fore via military coups in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen and the Sudan. According to this ideology, a planned economy would eliminate social and regional differences.
The approach failed, mainly because of structural problems, due to the brittle and unsustainable ideology underlying Arab socialism. But it also failed because of external factors, the biggest threat being the presence of Israel at the heart of the Arab world. It still hasn’t abandoned hope of fulfilling the greater dream of a state stretching across all Palestine and much of the Arab world, in accordance with the prophecy of the Torah.
The second reason is the monopolistic control of the ruling classes over the sources of wealth, be they trade or natural resources such as oil and water. This was especially true in Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, where the ruling classes all belonged to particular religious or ethnic groups.