Mahfoud, born at Algiers in 1936, was the son of a prominent physician, and was expected to attend college; but instead he became a member of the Algerian "National Liberation Front". Years of hard, violent struggle followed, during which Mahfoud became a skilled guerilla, responsible for the deaths of many French soldiers and settlers. In 1958, his unit was sent into the desert, near the Moroccan border, to escort new recruits past the French patrols. In a mysterious, sand-covered tomb deep in the Sahara, a terrible spirit or djinn was awakened by the presence of the NLF guerillas camping overnight; it attacked with terrible energies, both physical and mental. A combination of skill and luck (and the hand of Allah, he says) led Mahfoud to deduce the djinn's weakness, and he gained control over it. In return for its freedom, Mahfoud forced the djinn to grant three wishes: never to harm men again; to heal his wounded men; and to make him a powerful warrior (the djinn claimed that its power did not extend as far as freeing Algeria).
Upon his return from the desert, Mahfoud took the nom de guerre of "Barbarossa", who had liberated Algieria from the Christians in the Middle Ages. For several more years he was at the forefront of NLF actions, especially as a counter to French super-powered types.
In the summer of 1962, Algeria gained its independence, and joined the United Nations that October. Barbarossa was the obvious choice for his country's Vanguard selection (although his strong Islamic faith is a concern to the basically secular, socialistic government of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria). His strong Islamic, anti-French, anti-colonialist beliefs did not endear him to Vanguard's leaders, however, and he was kept continually in training programs (mostly flight school) until Vanguard was dissolved. There was some minor squabbling between Barbarossa and Comrade Barbarossa, the East German member, about name rights ... but it was never resolved before the organization was closed down.
Barbarossa is well-educated, and has years of military experience and training. A year or so with Vanguard has taken some of his rougher "guerilla fighter" edge off; but he is still no friend of the French or other colonialists. He doesn't drink, but smokes like a chimney. A skilled linguist, he speaks unaccented English (and is even better in Berber, Arabic, and French). He readily follows the orders of his old NLF comrades who now control the Algerian government, although there is some tension due to religious issues.
He is incredibly strong and durable, more than ready to take on an armored car in hand to hand combat. He relies on his bare hands now, although he is very familiar with the use of guns, knives, bombs, etc.Height: 2 meters; age: 27 in 1963