The effects of the "Arab Spring" for the economies and finances of the region are ongoing and significant. What looked like a short-term and welcome development earlier in the year is becoming a long-term challenge for corporate and financial institutions, which abhor instability and uncertainty above all.
Nowhere is this more evident than at Shuaa Capital. The UAE's premier indigenous investment bank - I have before called Shuaa the Cazenove of the Middle East, in recognition of its expertise and standing in the region - has shaped a recovery from the first phase of the financial crisis, but it now finds itself at the mercy of external events.
It is not alone in this experience. Executives in all the regional and international investment banks have been kicking their heels most of the year as business dried up. The world applauded the events sparked by the Tunisian upheaval, but the "masters of the universe" decided to wait for a denouement. They are still waiting.
For Shuaa, the timing could not have been worse. It has spent two years since the financial crisis of 2008 getting its house in order, and was in good stead to take advantage of the upturn in financial business many expected. Now, it finds its carefully engineered restructuring hanging on events in Tripoli, Cairo and Damascus.
Wind back a little, and you see why things were so bad in 2008 and 2009. In February 2009 the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) index hit an all-time low, and financial business in the UAE virtually dried up. Initial public offerings (IPOs) - the lifeblood of any investment banking operation - were pulled; international clients withdrew funds from the brokerage and asset management businesses.
Shuaa has problems of its own too. It ran into trouble with the Dubai Financial Services Authority, and had a long and damaging confrontation with the Government of Dubai over a convertible bond held by a unit of Dubai Holding.
The situation was grave, and we forget now the rumours of a fire sale, or forced merger with some other part of Dubai Inc, that were going around at the time.
But last year was a year of consolidation and revival. Like Dubai itself, Shuaa went back to basics, and found that the component parts were all in pretty good shape, with some important qualifiers.
One of Dubai's most successful financiers, Sameer Al Ansari, moved from Dubai International Capital to Shuaa at the end of last year. He embarked on a radical restructuring of the business.
His first problem was the balance sheet. The legacy of the boom years had left Shuaa with an over-inflated portfolio of assets, many of which were worth a lot less than book value.
These were ruthlessly cut back. At the beginning of 2009, Shuaa listed total assets of Dh3.8 billion (US$1.03bn). Today, that figure is Dh1.88bn.
Liabilities have declined in line, from Dh1.77bn back then to Dh422 million now. Underlining the new strength of the balance sheet, those liabilities are virtually covered by cash in the bank. Very few investment banks are so cash-rich.
Costs have been slashed. Operating expenses two and a half years ago amounted to more than Dh100m; now they are close to half that. Of course, this came at a price. Shuaa had 465 employees back then; now the payroll stands at 322.
The results are beginning to show in the financial figures. Mr Al Ansari was able to report a profit last quarter for the first time since 2008, with the most encouraging outlook for a long time. In particular, asset management is thriving.
But, even without the Arab Spring effect, there remain challenges. Brokerage in the UAE is still hugely over-supplied; there are simply too many firms for the dwindling business. This sector will not be profitable again without significant consolidation, and Shuaa's financial strength will allow it to play a role in that process.
Shuaa's recent deal with Bloomberg Tradebook, giving investors direct access to Dubai and Abu Dhabi markets, will accelerate the brokerage shake-out.
Maybe the biggest challenge will be the optimal use of Shuaa's financial resources in a transformational deal to seal its pre-eminent position in the region. There has been speculation in Dubai financial circles of a strategic alliance that could involve an equity element, underpinning the shares, which still languish in the fils region.
So, after a difficult couple of years, it's all to play for once more at Shuaa. Mr Al Ansari has done pretty much all he can. The future pace of Shuaa's recovery now depends on the mood in the Arab street, and that, in the words of Donald Rumsfeld, the former US defence secretary, is an unknown unknown.