Personality & Character
Mahdi is a deeply religious man in his 50s, although Banagher Links notes that Mahdi appears to be younger than he seems (Banagher notes that he appears as a man in his 40s). Mahdi is often seen wearing a suit in public as social norms require him to (which he finds as a hassle) but prefers to wear more traditional Muslim garb. Despite being deeply religious, Mahdi is not a stranger to Western manners as he was educated and raised in a Westernized environment.
Mahdi has an acquaintance-like relationship with Suberoa Zinnerman. Moreover, Mahdi's relationship with Zinnerman is heavily suggested to have existed for a long period of time as Mahdi not only knows about the tragic fate of Zinnerman's family; in fact, he is implied to have known Zinnerman before Zinnerman became a captain of a vessel.
Overall, Mahdi is calculating and manipulative man who keeps a calm demeanor. However, behind his calm and calculating personality lies a deep hatred for the people he refers to as the "White Men" as he believes that his wife and his ancestors died in despair and hatred due to these White Men. Additionally, Mahdi believes that the Earth Federation is dominated by White Men who seek to root out the culture and establishments of the Muslim people. Likewise, Mahdi believes that the White Men secretly mock him for being a savage that tries to imitate the White Men while still clinging to Muslim culture and traditions. Moreover, Mahdi holds great distrust of White Men, believing that White Men only know how to deceive and "play tricks." In fact, he states this logic not only applies to the White Men of the Federation, but also to his Neo Zeon allies, such as Full Frontal and Zinnerman. Despite his general distrust of others, Mahdi holds great trust for members of his own family.
Mahdi does not care for the ideals of Zeon and sees the spacenoids as aliens. Mahdi only fights to secure a prosperous future for his people, and to free his people of what he sees as oppression from the Federation and the White Men.
In the Gundam Unicorn novel, Mahdi is the head of the powerful Garvey family and president of the industrial giant, "Garvey Enterprises" in UC 0096. Not much is known is about his early days, but it is stated that his wife had killed a Earth Federation soldier who raped a Muslim woman. This led to his wife being tried and executed by the Earth Federation.
Mahdi was notably dubbed the "Descendant of Dubai;" the true meaning of this title is subtle and not fully explained. Based on context, the title probably meant that he inherited his great wealth, which was presumably established by his ancestors before the Earth Federation was formed.
When fossil fuels were close to running out on Earth, Mahdi's ancestors made a hundred-year plan, and built the economic capital of Dubai so that the Arabs would have prosperity even after the economy that relied on fossil fuels were to collapse. Mahdi believed the people he called the "White Men" had accused the establishment of Dubai for being a nest of the separatist activists as a cover for intervention to make the hundred-year plan thought by his ancestors impossible.
In UC 0096, Mahdi and his family first appeared piloting the AMA-X7 Shamblo under the deep sea, destroying a Federation Juneau-class. After Suberoa Zinnerman and Banagher Links traveled across part of the Sahara and brought aid from the local Zeon guerrillas to dig out the crashed Garencieres, which had been buried in the sand for more than a week, Mahdi sent his daughter, Loni Garvey, to inform Zinnerman to meet him at Dakar.
Upon their first meeting, Mahdi calls Banagher a "living key" of the Laplace's Box and even taunts Banagher by mockingly saying "Oh? The key knows how to talk?". In the meeting, Mahdi discussed with Zinnerman on his plan for subduing Dakar so that the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam could activate the La+ Program to further their search for the Laplace's Box. Zinnerman responded with objections and vicious glare to Mahdi's bold plan of attacking Dakar. Mahdi replied that he did not want any anti-Federation people to resort to suicide attacks. Zinnerman rebuffed Mahdi by stating that he would have to discuss with his higher ups before committing to Mahdi's plan. Mahdi reassured Zinnerman that he had everything planned well out. Despite Mahdi's assurance, Zinnerman was still in of suspicion of Mahdi's plan. In an attempt to dispel Zinnerman's doubts, Mahdi asserted that he had made agreements with Full Frontal. Moreover, Full Frontal agreed to send three AMS-129M Zee Zulus, a new amphibious mobile suit, and pilots for the three units to aid with the attack. Aside from this, Mahdi pointed out that the proposed operation would also help gather data for the Zee Zulu. Zinnerman reminded him that attacking Dakar would cause total war, and Mahdi would simply waste the "Inheritance of Dubai" he had received from his ancestors. Mahdi rebuked Zinnerman's response, claiming that his family had been waiting for this moment for generations, and that the attack on the Federation capital of Dakar was what the "Inheritance of Dubai" was for.
In response to this planned attack on Dakar, Banagher argued that there was no clear evidence that the Laplace's Box actually existed, but Mahdi dismissed Banagher's claims, as he predicted that it was all according to Cardeas Vist's plan. Mahdi was certain that the box actually existed. Moreover, Mahdi believed that it was Cardeas's own decision to give the box away, and those who wanted the box - those who wanted to overthrow the Federation would rise to arms to acquire the box. Cardeas was nevertheless recruiting people to start a war, and because of that, military industries would gain a huge amount of profit, and since everyone nowadays relies on Anaheim Electronics, the biggest sweepstakes would go to the Vist Foundation. Additionally, Mahdi believed that from the all the checkpoints (at this point, Laplace and Dakar) that Cardeas set, were to show the dark and tainted history of the Federation.
Banagher, with suspicions about his father's intentions, doubted Mahdi and argued that everyone has different opinions after having their own unique experiences; Banagher asserted what Cardeas wanted to do was to let people understand history and the present that was created by this history. Cardeas had said that "If the Unicorn thinks the pilot matches itself, then it will open the path to the box." Furthermore, Banagher explained "What Unicorn is looking for is not talents or abilities, but rather some specialties that can be called heart." Banagher argued that a person must understand the history of the Universal Century in order to get the box, since if one cannot understand this history, then that person cannot think of the future. Banagher states the reason Unicorn can read the pilot's heart is so that it can confirm the mind of its pilot. Mahdi retaliated, arguing that this could only apply had the pilot been determined, but that is not the reality since Mahdi claimed that Banagher was the pilot of the Unicorn Gundam by mere coincidence. As Banagher asserted that even adults may not be right, Zinnerman interrupted him and ordered him to cease his arguments with Mahdi. Zinnerman then apologized for Banagher's actions, and Mahdi sarcastically stated that he didn't mind.
After the smoke had cleared between Banagher's and Mahdi's argument, Mahdi revealed to Zinnerman and Banagher that Mineva Lao Zabi was currently with Ronan Marcenas. Mahdi claimed that he had heard that the Vist Foundation was in touch with Augusta Newtype Research Institute. Even though it was not confirmed, the information reported that they brought a captured Cyber Newtype along with them. Before Banagher and Zinnerman left, Mahdi asked if Zinnerman would help him in his attack on Dakar. Furthermore, Mahdi believed that the opportunity was a chance given to him by Allah (God). Finally, before Zinnerman took his leave, Mahdi reminded him of the Earth Federation's massacre of Globe City, Zinnmerman's hometown.
Afterward the meeting, Banagher apologized to Zinnerman for being rash, but Zinnerman replied that it was no big deal since he himself thought that Banagher was right.
Mahdi spoke to Full Frontal after Zinnerman had left. After his meeting with the masked man, Mahdi asked Loni if she thought that Full Frontal was really the son of Zeon Zum Deikun. Mahdi warned Loni that they knew too much about the inside of Neo Zeon, so they have to be wary of Neo Zeon despite being allied with them. Mahdi stated that he didn't care about the Zeon cause at all, claiming that they could have space. Mahdi told Loni his true goal, which was to reclaim the lands of Middle East and Africa for the Muslims.
When the attack on Dakar began, Zeon forces deployed and engaged Federation forces at the ports of Dakar. Mahdi, along with his two sons (Abbas in charge of piloting while Walid searched for enemies) and daughter (Loni who was in charge of controlling the Shamblo's defensive bits), piloted the Shamblo and advanced on the Federation parliament building while destroying all Federation opposition in their way. After the Shamblo was able to reach Dakar, Mahdi began to descend into madness due to his hate and began to question his own self. Mahdi acknowledged that he himself was a living contradiction, as a person that lived and interacted in the "White Men's society" yet being a foreigner that hated the White Men deeply. Mahdi used this oxymoron of sorts as a catalyst and an excuse for his madness and begins to order his co-pilots to attack the Hotel Empire, a non-combatant and commercial building. His children were met with shock and surprise at the sudden order, with Loni protesting that attacking the hotel would only cause more unnecessary hatred. Mahdi then reasoned the hotel to be a symbol of the White Men which stained Muslim territory and ate away at the Earth, thus it had to be destroyed. Within seconds, the Shamblo cut the hotel from the 53rd to 59th floor with its main head mounted high-output mega particle cannon. The powerful beam sweep of the cannon not only instantly annihilated much of the hotel and the evacuating people inside, it caused massive destruction to the area and buildings around the hotel.
After the Londo Bell forces arrived at Dakar, the Shamblo which was running low on energy, hurried its way towards the parliament building and took the shortcut by destroying everything in its path. Federation forces mostly composed of RGM-86R GM IIIs attempted to stop the Shamblo but were easily dispatched by the monstrous mobile armor. Riddhe Marcenas and his MSN-001A1 Delta Plus also arrived to engage the Shamblo alongside the GM IIIs but had no success in stopping or slowing down the mobile armor. After seeing the massive destruction the Shamblo had caused, Banagher deployed in the Unicorn Gundam after brawling with Zinnerman about values and attempted to stop the Shamblo. Mahdi cursed the spacenoids as aliens as he believed his Zeon allies had betrayed him by deploying the Unicorn Gundam to intercept him. Despite the Unicorn being a superb machine, on Earth it was limited by gravity and had little success of damaging the Shamblo (due to the fact the Unicorn only had beam gatling guns as its primary weapons as there was only one shot left in the Unicorn's Beam Magnum). To combat the monstrous Shamblo, both Riddhe and Banagher worked together as a cohesive unit to try to take the Shamblo down in one blow with the Unicorn's last remaining Beam Magnum shot.
As the Shamblo caused mass destruction to Dakar while trying to destroy the Unicorn and Delta Plus, Loni could no longer stand the screams of people being killed around her and the sound of flesh hitting surfaces. Loni stood up, abandoned her position, and took off her helmet and began to plead to Mahdi to stop the Shamblo's rampage. Mahdi became enraged as he heard this from his own daughter and saw it as a sign of her betrayal. Loni tried to reason that Allah was a merciful and understanding God, and that any more killing would be a defiance to Allah as they had already got their point across. Moreover, Loni stated that the Federation had children and women on the streets of Dakar. Loni attempted to touch his shoulder but Mahdi pushed her arm away with unrestricted force, causing her to fall on her back on the walls of the Shamblo. Mahdi then reminded Loni of her mother's unjust trial, and the fact that he could do nothing as he had to protect the company's interests and the cursed inheritance that was known as the "Descendant of Dubai." Mahdi then claimed that the Muslims would rise after the destruction of the parliament hall, and was deeply saddened with tears that Loni would betray him when their objective was so close.
After this moment, Loni realized that the man that she was talking to was no longer the loving father she knew. Loni was filled with increasing disappointment in her father, and began feeling a sense of depression that was comparable than news of her mother's death. After wiping away his tears, Mahdi ordered Loni to return to her position as the operator of the Shamblo's defenses. While hearing these orders, Loni reached for a handgun in her ankle and pointed it at Mahdi while pleading him to stop. When Loni did this, Mahdi became greatly enraged and questioned how could Loni point a gun at her own father. Loni claimed that the machine had swallowed his soul, and begged Mahdi to return to his usual self. Descended in madness and rage, Mahdi responded with a screaming order at Loni to shut up and shot her with a handgun for insubordination. In her last moments of consciousness, Loni heard her brothers (who were shocked at Mahdi's actions) and father arguing.
As she laid dying, Loni with her last thoughts communicated with Banagher and pleaded him to end her father's mad rampage. Banagher, with Loni's guidance and Riddhe's Delta Plus as a support craft, fired the Unicorn's Beam Magnum at the Shamblo while both Banagher and Riddhe charged at the Shamblo after dodging its barrage of beams. The blast from the Unicorn's Beam Magnum killed the Descendant of Dubai, and ended Shamblo's destructive rampage once and for all.
In the Gundam Unicorn OVA series, Mahdi Garvey is a wealthy man who was a former Zeon soldier who brought the remnants together. However he is dead by UC 0096, hunted down by the Earth Federation. Both his death and his wife's is the driving force behind Loni Garvey's hatred for the Earth Federation.
After Mahdi's death, Yonem Kirks looked after Loni as a father figure.