The Arab League's 22 members are voting to elect the organization's new chief, with a veteran Egyptian diplomat the only contender for the post.

The vote comes at a critical time for the Mideast. Syria is marking the fifth anniversary of the start of its devastating civil war, regional proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Iran are on full display, and the battle against the Islamic State is raging in several Arab countries.

Egypt's Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, a former ambassador to the United Nations and veteran diplomat under autocrat Hosni Mubarak, is the only nominee for the post and is widely expected to win approval from the league members.

Divisions have weakened the Arab League since the 2011 uprisings that toppled three longtime autocratic rulers but also sparked three civil wars.