Maj. Saad Haddad insists that he is ready and willing to integrate his ''region'' back into Lebanon - if his conditions are met.
Major Haddad, a renegade officer who split from the Lebanese Army, has fought the PLO in southern Lebanon and controls an area near the Israeli border called Haddadland.
''My conditions,'' he told the Monitor, ''are the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon, a peace treaty between Lebanon and Israel, agreement that if Lebanon is threatened from outside we will have a common defense treaty with Israel, and an open border with passage by identity card only.''
''Without these conditions we will not give up our territory,'' he said.
Major Haddad seemed dubious that these conditions would be met. Nor was he optimistic that elections for a new president would be held as scheduled this summer.
His tense relationship with leading candidate Bashir Gemayel became apparent when he revealed that he had met the Maronite leader last week and asked Mr. Gemayel to close the newly opened office of his forces in Sidon. Mr. Gemayel had previously refused to recognize Major Haddad.
''I don't want conflict with Sidon area villages,'' Haddad said. ''If one (Christian militia) opens an office, all will want offices and this will cause conflict.''
But the major appeared confident that he could achieve unity ''in our area in the south.'' He said he had received an enthusiastic reception in Shiite, Christian, and Druze (a secretive Islamic sect) villages. ''They consider it a miracle that they are freed from the PLO.''
Major Haddad said he had more requests to join his army than he could handle because he couldn't pay all the applicants. Israel, he said, had contributed $10 million toward salaries since 1978. The contributions provided salaries of $100 a month per man. Israel has also provided weapons and civilian services like roads and hospitals. But he said he hoped now that the Lebanese Army command in Beirut would release frozen salaries to him and his men.
''In the past I was supposed to be a traitor,'' he said, ''but now the whole Lebanese leadership is sitting with the Israeli Defense Forces so I guess I'm not a traitor.''